Meet a Student: Lizzie

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I love this because of Katniss’s bravery and courage. She took a big risk to save her sister, and I think that is very admirable in a person.

If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?

If I was a teacher, I would teach English. I love reading, and I enjoy reading and analyzing passages from books, and especially poetry.

What have you learned about yourself as a student since you started with tutoring?

Since I started with tutoring, I have loved learning about my challenges with learning, and learning about my brain and how I best obtain information.

Outside of school, what do you like to do for fun?

I love theatre. I have been a competitive dancer since the age of 3, and I have been in school productions such as Mary Poppins, as Mary, and The Lion King, as Rafiki.

What is something you have done or accomplished that are you most proud of?

I am proud of the steps I took to make the National School Walkout on March 14th happen.

What is your favorite word?

My favorite word is whimsical. I think that the definition perfectly matches the emphasis and way you say the word.

What is one goal, big or small, that you have for the next year?

I would like to get a good part in the school production next year:)

Here is Lizzie's letter she wrote to make her case for the school walk out to protest gun laws.

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Creative Writing for the Teenage Soul

A central part of the human experience is finding effective ways to express ourselves and be understood by others. As children we can work through complex feelings, emotions, and ideas, with our parents, teachers, or a trusted caregiver. As adults we have partners, siblings, and life long friends to hash out our thoughts with. Unfortunately, though, it’s during the tumultuous teenage years when it is often feels most difficult to find a good listener. For many students, creative writing can be a great outlet that leads not only to emotional catharsis, but also to improved writing skills!

Whether writing poems, stories, plays or lyrics, the process of putting thoughts down on paper is a great way to reflect and process without fear of judgement. Troubling thoughts that might otherwise fester and breed negativity, anger, and self-consciousness can be exorcised from the brain as teens acknowledge them and attempt to move on. There is no fear of confrontation and no need to be on the defensive or offensive; instead, creative writing offers students the opportunity to reflect and hopefully learn from experience.

Apart from being a therapeutic form of self-expression, creative writing is also good for communication and problem-solving. A writer must describe an experience or scenario in a way that will make the reader fully believe and even feel the things the writer is feeling. This requires an amazing vocabulary, heightened awareness, and empathy. When students translate abstract observations and feelings into well-formed sentences and paragraphs, they are engaging in the human experience: learning, listening, and decoding. After all, storytelling is the oldest form of human communication and exists in every culture and society; when a student is able to engage another person in their story, not only does it feel good, that child is also learning how to create a meaningful social bond.

Creative writing is beneficial to students on so many levels. It encourages emotional development and self-confidence, and improves teenagers’ ability to empathize and connect with others. At the same time, creative writing also leads to academic gains as students learn how to analyze the world around them and communicate their ideas about it with more clarity and sensitivity. We are all driven to reflect on and understand our environment, and to try and make things better both for ourselves and those around us. By encouraging independence, empathy, catharsis and expression, creative writing is one of the best ways to ensure a child becomes a conscientious and well-rounded adult!