Writing center offers opportunity to improve

Student resource available flex periods

Seniors Sofia Alatorre, Molly Beatty, Annie Bingle, Anna Flood, Lizzy Jensen and Camryn Wylam work in the writing center on Nov. 10 during flex.

Jenna Williams

Seniors Sofia Alatorre, Molly Beatty, Annie Bingle, Anna Flood, Lizzy Jensen and Camryn Wylam work in the writing center on Nov. 10 during flex.

Annika Garwood, Reporter

As the school year begins its fourth month and students assign more and more essays and other similar writing assignments, the writing center offers a resource for students to get a second opinion, in this case from a fellow student, about their work.

“The writing center is a place where students can come and get help with their writing from other students,” said English teacher Mrs. Melinda Bundy. She explained that it’s a tool for any student to utilize when he has a question about the topic of an essay or its development. Student volunteers in the center will provide feedback on any school writing assignment.

Not just editing

Bundy explained the main goal of an appointment as, “not a place for editing. It’s not a place where the older kids change your grammar. It’s where others help you with your approach to writing and to develop a good thesis statement. Students edit your thought process and look to see if you have good evidence to back up your claim,” said Bundy.

She and a few other teachers, such as Mrs. Kathy Keyes, English department co-chair, serve as the moderators for the writing center and train the student staff.

The center is staffed by students who are currently enrolled in AP or IB English who have volunteered. Most are also members of the National Honor Society, according to Bundy. The peer editors “are those who are more successful in writing,” she said.

Students can sign up by simply going to the writing center and using the sign up sheet on the door.

“One of the first things (a peer mentor) will ask a student during an appointment is ‘OK, what was your assignment? What does the teacher want you to do?’” said Bundy. “It’s really hard to assess something if you don’t know what the end product is supposed to be.”

The English teacher also compared the level of attention between every grade. She said that freshmen tend to get more help compared to a junior because they are not as far along on their writing journey as an older student. “For freshmen, you might have to work with them, talk them through a thesis statement and tell them ‘You know, this is your thesis statement, but your paper doesn’t support it.’ Or you’re getting off track here and you went down a tangent that wasn’t necessary,” Bundy said. “In short,” she said, “it’s just another set of eyes.”

Sophomore Ella Hagenow used the writing center last year, and said she thought it was so beneficial, she continues to go there to get feedback on her English essays. She explained the process when she went, and said “they read through my paper, and then they fixed my thesis statement. (The older students) cut out things that weren’t needed, and they helped me get the right amount of words.” Hagenow recommends it to other students to utilize if they ever have any questions about any writing assignment.

Benefits of a visit

Bundy said, “I know we are all kind of shy or reluctant about people critiquing us, and I think that if you can look at it as a way to help you be a better writer rather than thinking about how others will judge you, it will make (a) world of difference on your paper.”  She gave the advice of just signing up and going because doing so can never hurt. Teacher moderators are present, so if there are any grammatical questions, they can assist.

“I hate when people come in and grade me, and I’ve been doing this for 44 years,” Bundy said with a chuckle. “But in all seriousness, students should get used to this, because this is how they do it at most universities.”

The writing center is open during flex on days 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, except when flex is used for assemblies, pep rallies or other all-school meetings. It is located in Loretto in Room 2311 on the second floor.