Columbia U. Writing Class Benefits Young Writers

The Columbia University Writers Club meets on Tuesdays after 9th period.

The Columbia University Writers Club meets on Tuesdays after 9th period.

The echoes of ecstatic students fill the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts library as Bailey Carlisle, a 17-year-old art student from Dumbo, quietly observes from the back of the crowded room. She jotted down her thoughts on a notepad and snapped photographs from her camera as she watched students prepare for the start of a new year for the Columbia Writing Club. Carlisle, a member of the 2015-2016 FSSA Yearbook committee, attended the program on the behalf of the committee to take photographs and attend the class.

Principal Donna Finn and Vice Principal Sofia Apostolidis mingled amongst students, awaiting the start of the class. Kendall and Kalle, two Columbia master students, prepared for their first teaching experiences with the various students from all grades and studios. Chatter fell silent as the young instructors stepped before their enlivened class. The class began with a short introduction from the class’ instructors.

Kendall, 22, introduced herself and told the students about her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. She proceeded by asking students about their experiences within the prestigious art school. To the surprise of the class, Kendall took notes based on the student’s responses and later revealed to the class that she is in the process of writing her own novel about a dancer. Her co-teacher Kalle, 23, then introduced himself and told the class about his background and experiences in his home in Finland.

Students had the opportunity to share their own work at the first meeting.

Students had the opportunity to share their own work at the first meeting.

“It was a great turnout, ” Carlisle recalled with enthusiasm. “Around 30 students attended and they all seemed to be excited and engaged.”

After the short introduction and a small group discussion, students were instructed to free-write so that the teachers could assess the writing techniques and styles of the class. After a silent 10 minute writing period, students shared their writing amongst each other and with the group.

“They wrote really expressive stories and learned how to be creative in their writing by sharing it with others,” Carlisle said. “A lot of people used techniques without even realizing they were using them.”

After another short discussion about writing techniques, Kalle and Kendall expressed their high hopes for the program and their excitement for the future. Students gathered their belongings and exited the library, carrying their energy and excitement for learning with them.

“Both of the instructors were very excited to teach because they both aspire to be teachers when they graduate,” said Carlisle.

Senior dance major Tracy Imhof said that individual studios are not the only way of expressing oneself.

“Considering our school is an arts school, we usually express our thoughts and feelings through our art, but sometimes you need words to deliver certain feelings or ideas to an audience. This club helps you do that,” she said.

Clearly, many students are satisfied with the first class of the year and are thrilled for future meetings. The Columbia Writing Club meets on Tuesdays after 9th period in the FSSA Library.

– by Dylan Hunter Carter ’16

Photography by Bailey Carlisle