Education Outside the Classroom
By Brenda Kasale
YES '13, Kenya
As a senior at Shawnee Mission West High School, I chose Writer’s Workshop as one of my classes. It’s all about being able to make your thoughts become words. The class is really creative and innovative, as we get to share our poems and creativity with the rest of the class. The teacher and fellow students are really supportive.
Recently our teacher, Mr. Carter, organized a function known as the ‘Writer’s Walk’. Students had to have permission from other teachers to participate in the activity since it interfered with the normal school routine. It’s not a ‘walk’ as the name suggests but simply setting up decorations in school, writing words of wisdom on the school pathways and giving out candy. We also set up some games and face-painting booths. We wore Halloween costumes but the weather was rather cold for that. One of the most interesting activities was the dramatic reading activity. Here, students performed their own poems or those of other students while the audience sat on stacks of hay and listened and cheered. Some of the readers broke down into tears as they read. Some energetically performed their pieces with much ease. All in all, they engaged the audience in their readings and captured their attention.
I was assigned to a game stand during the event. The challenge was all about locating little toys and colorful key holders in a haystack. There was a ‘show stopper object’ which was a golden carved pebble. The one who found it became the winner and was rewarded with a delightful treat - a mouthful of candy. My friends Eduardo, Charlotte and I, who were the hosts of the game, wore cool cowboy hats. It was incredibly funny watching some determined boys bury themselves under the haystack to find the objects. Some even went ahead and used their dogs to search for the missing objects, however, their efforts proved futile since the objects had no connection with food.
I also participated in the poets’ corner activity. Six students were on this stand including me. Here, students had to give us a word and we would compose a poem about the word in less than two minutes. It was quite challenging but fun. There was also a ‘dead writers’ activity where students had to dress up like legendary poets and perform their articles. They also stuck fake gravestones in the ground with their names painted on them.
It was truly a wonderful experience. Even with the cold weather, we managed it through hard work and teamwork. The best part of it all was going home having devoured so much candy that I could barely make my way to the bus. I also came out with an open mind and intellectual knowledge from all the words of wisdom we shared. I used to be afraid of sharing my writings with others but I learned to face my fears. I learned that the less conscious one is of being a writer, the better the writing. There’s a whole language out there, and one’s role as a writer is to stumble around it. That is why I aspire to being a renowned writer someday in the near future.