APA students celebrate national day on writing
Tyler Aliff of Kinston posts student writing on an outdoor display at APA’s cafeteria. Photo by Vicki Kennedy / Arendell Parrott Academy
The Declaration of Independence, Romeo and Juliet, letters from home—each made “A Day Writing Changed the World.” These are just a few of the responses Parrott Academy students came up with when asked to describe one piece of writing that had a transformational effect. Along with schools across America, APA middle and high school students celebrated National Day on Writing on Friday October 19th.
For ten years, the National Council of Teachers of English has sponsored National Day on Writing. As the professional organization puts it, this initiative is “ designed to show that writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration. No matter who you are, writing is part of your life.”
Parrott English teacher Casey Charles spearheaded a project to generate students’ own reflections and writings on the importance of the written word. From sixth graders through high school seniors, every student was given a chance to fill out a form describing “A Day Writing Changed the World.” On Friday, their responses became a display at Sylvester Plaza, an outdoor eating area beside Parrott’s cafeteria.
Hands down, the most frequently cited “world changing” texts were The Declaration of Independence and The Bible. On a similar note, The U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and The Quran also showed up in multiple student responses. But so did Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Communist Manifesto, and The Cat in the Hat. One unsigned comment said “My mom’s pizza recipe changed my world. It makes me happy.” Another suggested, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit changed the world for bunnies by teaching them to stay out of gardens.” A great many students mentioned novels that had altered their lives by showing them that reading can be great entertainment: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, The Outsiders, and Ready Player One, for example.
Thomas Paris, a senior from Kinston, chose C.S. Lewis’s novel The Screwtape Letters, noting “There have been great works of satire in the past, but this book puts ourselves as greedy humans into perspective.” Junior Abby Turner from Pink Hill chose John Stuart Mill’s work On Liberty. “Mill shows a clear disdain for any attempts, whether by law or by the pressures of society, to contain any individual’s right of self-expression.”
Viewing all the responses, Casey Charles said, “I was really pleased at how so many middle and high school students embraced this activity, both by writing responses and viewing our display. It shows that young people really care about what others have to say.”