Writing Practicum Yields National Awards for Writing Excellence

The 2013 National Kids Philosophy Slam challenged students from around the country to answer the question: “Which is more powerful, Love or Hate?” A panel of philosophy judges considered over 4,000 entries from students throughout the United States and selected Park junior Christopher Mergen as the winner of the 13th annual contest. Christopher was also awarded the James W. Buchan Award for writing excellence. Congratulations to Christopher, his peers in Park’s Writing Practicum course, and teacher Greg Brandt. Click here to read Christopher’s essay.

More wonderful news: Junior Megan Philippi won third place in this national competition! Megan is also a Writing Practicum student. Click here to read Megan’s essay.

Park’s Writing Practicum is an intensive writing workshop that also prepares students to teach writing. In the Practicum, students write and revise creative non-fiction — in recent years assignments have included best earth memory, favorite song analysis, satire, New Yorker-style profile, film review, travelogue, and college essay — as well as stories, poems, and A.P.-style persuasive essays.

The focus throughout is on the process of writing, and students learn — through reading, discussion, role-playing, and lots of practice — the techniques of effective peer tutoring. Students tutor writers from the Lower, Middle, and Upper School. After completing the Practicum, students serve for the rest of their Park careers as tutors in The Michael Cardin ’85 Writing Center.

About The National Kids Philosophy Slam: The mission of the National Kids Philosophy Slam is “to give kids a voice and to inspire kids to think by unlocking their intellectual and creative potential through a unique and powerful philosophical forum.” This unique program allows kids to grapple with life’s big issues in an accessible format, as younger students answer philosophical questions through artwork, poetry and music. More info: http://www.philosophyslam.org/

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