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Writers Deserve Better Recognition

Graphic by Jenny '15
Graphic by Jenny ’15

You have undoubtedly received an abundance of emails inviting you to any number of art shows in Seaver Gallery. You have seen the multitude of plays and musicals. You have watched the digital signage showcase student drawings. But

I believe that, in a school that very much appreciates performing and visual artists, writers unfortunately fly under the radar. It is commonly known around campus that many of our student artists win Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which celebrate originality and creativity on both the regional and national levels. What is less commonly known is that student writers win them, too.

Many people simply have no idea that there is a literary component to the Scholastic awards program and therefore do not submit their work. Seaver Gallery proudly displays the Scholastic-winning art pieces each spring, yet nothing is made of the literary prizes. The Marlborough website celebrates the fact that students have won 110 Scholastic Art Awards, neglecting to mention the seven girls who won twelve Scholastic writing awards. It is as if nobody cares.

The community of creative writers at School is small, encompassing the creative writing senior elective and the literary magazine, The Edge. Recognition for these groups is quite limited as well. Perhaps the School could offer school-wide literary awards to promote writers, English Awards for Middle School or simply more on-campus readings.

We have a fantastic literary magazine, The Edge, but it only comes out once a year, and the editors struggle to amass enough student submissions. And, despite the hard work that goes into publishing the magazine, many students don’t read it. Some claim that it takes too long to read a piece written by a student, but it takes much longer to watch a theatrical production. Would it really be all that difficult to read a poem or two? A short story?

The lack of recognition for writers extends to the curriculum as well. A student can take honors in any class by ninth grade except for English, which makes it easier for STEM-oriented students to maintain a higher GPA than their humanities-oriented peers. This means that those who want to do more reading and writing than is offered in regular English classes must do so on their own, or at least wait until they make it to 11th grade. While the English department is well-instructed, its offerings are regrettably limited in comparison to the other academic fields.

Additionally, students are able to choose a wide variety of arts classes, but not if they wish to pursue writing as their craft. Students can pick and choose arts classes starting in 8th grade, but as of the 2014-2015 school year, there are no creative writing options open to underclassmen. The School could reinstate the creative writing course that used to be offered to 8th graders and should at least try to offer more options for girls to further their writing skills. Writing is an important skill that we should be encouraged to cultivate in school.

It would be a great improvement if members of our community were generally more informed about the literary happenings around campus, which would no doubt lead to more students feeling confident in sharing what they write and to building a stronger community of those with mutual interests. If more girls knew about prizes for writing, they might enter contests and add to the School’s growing number of artistic awards. I entreat the Marlborough community to take an interest in the vibrant and talented creative writers in our midst. Encourage them, and perhaps even join them.