JAMESTOWN - James-town Community College hosted 11 high school students from New York, Pennsylvania, and across the globe for a week of creative writing instruction and visits to Chautauqua Institution.
The Young Writers' Studio was a credit-bearing, residential program that coincided with Chautauqua's Literary Arts Week. Talented high school students from Jamestown and Olean, as well as Philadelphia, Albany, and Kazakhstan, came together for the one-credit course that helped them hone their writing skills and learn about a variety of genres.
The course was taught by Karen Weyant, assistant professor of English, whose poetry has been published and who teaches a variety of courses, including creative writing, at JCC.
Young Writers’ Studio participants pause in front of Chautauqua Institution’s historic Athenaeum Hotel. Front: Devin Callahan and Nichelle Conyer of Jamestown, Audrey Pitcher of Sand Lake, Evelyn Abbott of Baldwinsville, Margaret Stanford of Olean, Tessa Medvidovich of Dauphin, Pa., Jael Goldfine of Lemont, Pa., and Raisa Dibble of Kazakhstan. Back: Danielle Flexer of Westfield, Julia Crozier-Christy of Wyomissing, Pa., Cody Whitton of Kennedy, and Eric Ryan of Downingtown, Pa.
Students enrolled in the program hoping to find peers who take writing seriously and an instructor willing to critique even the best work. Chautauqua Institution guests of the "Roger Rosenblatt and Friends" series such as Dame Julie Andrews and Billy Collins also drew attention from the students.
Participants spent mornings at Chautauqua Institution, attending morning lectures and staying on the grounds for lunch, and returned to JCC's Jamestown Campus for intensive writing instruction, followed by both structured and unstructured writing time in the evenings. Writing assignments gave students the opportunity to apply what they heard from morning lectures to their own writing practice.
"We did have lots of time to focus on writing, and I got several pieces done that I like," noted one participant. "I learned even more than I thought I would," said another, "and got along with everyone better than I dared hope!"
Evening program activities also included watching a film with visiting Swedish students, attending a concert at the Labyrinth Press Company in Jamestown, competing in a Scrabble tournament, and enjoying a campfire in College Park.
Young Writers' Studio program fees covered housing, meals, program transportation, activities, and tuition. Students earned one transferrable English credit from JCC.