I’m going back to school.

High school, that is, and today was my first day.

One of the organizations I’ve gotten involved with here is the Georgia Writers Museum. It’s part museum, focusing mainly on three famous authors who were born in this area (Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, and Joel Chandler Harris), and part Writers Center offering classes and other programs for writers of all ages and stages.

A new program just getting started is called “Growing Up Creative in a Small Town,” and it’s for high school students. They’ll be writing essays on their different creative endeavors and experiences, and the essays will eventually be printed as a regular column in the local newspaper. That’s where I come in. I’ve been asked to work with the students to edit and polish their work to get it ready for the paper.

I have to say that I’m probably even more excited about the program than the kids are. Anytime I can help and encourage other writers to share their stories, I’m a happy camper. And when those writers are students who have so much of their life stories still ahead of them, it warms my heart in ways I can’t even express.

There were four of us at the first meeting today: the Director of the Georgia Writers Museum, the teacher who’s coordinating the program at the high school, a student who’s already written an essay on the subject, and me. I knew we were off to a great start when I – as well as the teacher and the museum director – started to get a little choked up while reading the student’s work. I was amazed at the wisdom in his words, the depths of his insight, and the degree to which he opened up about his fears and feelings.

After a short general discussion among the four of us, the student and I went to the Media Center so I could work one-on-one with him on his manuscript. He was receptive to my comments and suggestions, and enthusiastic about the changes he now plans to make. I can’t wait to see his next draft.

I’m also looking forward to meeting and working with the other students who will be taking part in the program. I don’t know yet whether we’ll be on a weekly, bi-weekly, or other schedule, but I do know one thing: I can’t wait to go back to school!

December 8, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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