Parents, Students Laud Inaugural Writing Summer Camp

June 26, 2023
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Parents, Students Laud Inaugural Writing Summer Camp

The FAMU Department of English and Modern Languages (DEML) recently hosted its inaugural Write Your Way Up! Summer Camp. 

Organized and taught by DEML faculty and Writing Resource Center staff, the program introduced high schoolers to college-level writing and campus resources. The 14 participants included rising 9th through 12th graders from Lincoln High, Chiles High, Rickards High, Wakulla Christian High, Florida High (FSU), FAMU DRS, Arabia Mountain, Lithonia, Georgia, and Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia.

DEML Chair and Camp Director Veronica Yon, Ph.D., said she was elated with the work the students accomplished in one week.

“They were willing to shift their preconceived notions about writing and engage wholeheartedly in the process,” Yon said.

The week of activities included workshops, lectures, creative writing exercises, and campus field trips to the FAMU Career Center, Meek-Eaton Black Archives, and Coleman Library. 

Participants were tasked with using artifacts from the archives to inform their writings. The camp concluded with the students presenting digital portfolios of their writing processes to a supportive audience of parents, faculty, and staff. 

Of the process, camper Malik Webb, a rising 9th grader at FAMU DRS, said, “I learned that poems can be used to express your feeling through pencil and paper. This type of writing makes you think. I could express problems in society without all the complexity. It was just me speaking my truth.”

Rising senior Makenzie Tucker of Arabia Mountain High School said she “was able to demonstrate a greater level of critical thinking by visiting the Black Archives, collaborating with others in groups, and learning to use our five senses to describe our experiences in writing.” 

Parents also provided positive feedback on the camp and appreciation for the WYWU staff.  In a survey response, one parent observed that the campers “definitely feel more motivated to write now. They were very stuck in the writing process before but now it seems like they’re having more fun and more ease with the process.”

Parent LaTonya Baker said, “I am so happy Malik had this opportunity. To be exposed to you all in this camp was invaluable. We will be back next year! Thank you!”

The Department is planning to publish the campers’ poems in its next issue of Cake: A Literary Journal.

“Thank you to the faculty and staff who donated their time, talent, and resources to make this vision a reality,” said Yon. “It is our hope that the students will continue to build upon this foundation throughout the summer and beyond.”