Bringing The Writ “TEN” Word to GCHS

This years Writers Week poster was designed to grab student attention and inspire celebrating the tenth anniversary of the event.

Photo illustrated by Ellie Ryan

This years Writers Week poster was designed to grab student attention and inspire celebrating the tenth anniversary of the event.

Alexandra de la Mora, Opinion Editor

Ten years of engaging students interested in the literary world outside their English and humanity classrooms has made its way back to Grayslake Central. Since 2013, Writers Week has welcomed creatives from all professions, from authors to musicians, and asks them to share their connections with the world of literature. This year’s organizers, English teachers Ellie Ryan, Melissa Thurlwell, and Nina Cavender, are excited to share the writ“TEN” word in celebration of Writers Week’s tenth anniversary here at GCHS, which will span from April 3 to April 6.

Since the start of the school year, planning has been in full swing, starting first with finding engaging speakers for the student body. “Local or professional authors will reach out to us, and sometimes we catch on to alumni. For example, 2006 alumni, Courtney Sisk, is working in Milwaukee as a reporter for a news station…This year, we wanted to bring in an influencer, someone that uses social media as their platform but still uses writing to connect with people and we got Bryn Sato, who was a graduate from last year.” Thurlwell said, “We are really proud to show our department what we’ve come up with and even more importantly, we’re really proud to push that out to students and staff.”

Writers Week also has two more alumni who will be speaking throughout the week. Noah Polk, a pop musician who has worked passionately on his music for the past five years, and Deborah Nelson, who is a professor of investigative journalism at Merrill College.

Inviting speakers that use writing in many different forms can show the student body how writing can remain a huge part of their post-high school experiences, that may even transform into careers.

“It’s empowering for students to know that they have such a wide variety of options leaving here and a lot of them in creative fields that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Our students are a part of creating new workspaces, new environments, and honestly, making the world a better place,” Ryan said.

Writers Week has also joined forces with GCHS National Art Honor Society to spread the excitement of the writ“TEN” word by having an open mic for the student body to share out poetry, music, and their creative ideas in their Express Yo-Self night, which will occur on the last day of Writers Week, April 6.

Letting students see others who have harnassed a passion for writing into a career could help guide many students to rethink how writing can be interpreted or taught in many different ways. “I think sometimes students think that writing is writing an essay for your English teacher, when in fact writing could be 100 different things… I just hope that it’s a reminder that learning can be really fun and exposure to the real world,” Thurlwell said.

However, it is not just students that these English teachers are hoping to grab attention with Writers Week but all of the staff members here at GCHS. Ryan believes that “It’s a community builder amongst our whole building. I think it’s a way for us all to sort of come together and be reminded of why we’re all here. Hopefully, they feel inspired and want to plan some new cool lessons.”

Thurlwell said “Teachers are giving students a skill set in the classroom so that they can be successful post-high school, and if students don’t see that relevancy, they don’t know that it matters. I want students to see that their ability to write and advocate for themselves, communicate with their boss, and express themselves creatively all really matter.”

Writers Week is not just limited to English classes but is welcome to all educational departments to bring their classes to the Theater to expose their students to the writ“TEN” word come April.

Writers Week’s first ever poster, created by a Grayslake Central student. (Photo provided by Writers Week organizers)