Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo! This is the time when writers of all ages and experience levels are challenged to write 50,000 words between November 1 and 30th. While it’s typically seen as motivation to draft a novel, some writers use it for inspiration toward any creative writing project. There’s a large internet-based following where writers can find resources, guidance, and fuel to develop their skills.
Laurel Springs also has a large community of writers. Not only is writing a main course of study with electives in Creative Writing, Literature & Composition, and even Dramatic Literature, but student writers are free to join one of the various writing and book-related clubs. Clubs are one more example of how Laurel Springs weaves online socialization with a diverse curriculum in order to provide a well-rounded education. Each club elects student ambassadors to help facilitate live meetings and club communications. A LSS teacher acts as club advisor, but it’s the students who have the opportunity to shine. Here are some clubs that both book writers and readers will love.
Read, Write and Share
Students in grade K-8 who join this club experience the best of all three worlds. Members have the opportunity to read a wide range of books of their choice. Then, club members share these stories with peers which usually sparks further discussion of individual passions. Some students may even choose to write to another student via the Pen Pal program. Monthly meetings are held for connection, collaboration, and fun getting to know their Laurel Springs School peers.
Creative Writing, Poetry and Photography Club
For those students in grade 7-12 who crave real-world publishing experiences, this club delivers. Students become staff writers, photographers, and editors of the annual Vision and Voices Magazine, a collection of poetry, short stories, and images curated by club members. Members build on their talent for creativity through peer editing and teacher guidance. Student editors lead the lively monthly meetings to share their creative passions and design the annual magazine pages.
LSS Spanish teacher, Shannon Athey has been club advisor since Fall of 2019. She works with Rachelle Wafer, Student Engagement Manager, to publish the magazine with the student editors. “I love seeing the students’ creative submissions every month,” Mrs. Athey says. “I also really enjoy the supportive environment they have established for each other while sharing their work.”
“CWPPC is a group of the most inspiring, supportive, and kind people you will ever meet. There is not a single soul in the club that wishes you harm and they all want to see you be successful.” Olivia Franse, Senior Creative Writing Editor
Olivia has been part of the club for four years now and has quickly advanced from “newbie” to award-winning photographer to Editor within that time. “As an editor, I help put together the slides for each meeting. I love opening up the submissions folder and reading through all of the wonderful submissions! If you’re someone who loves to take photographs or write, I absolutely recommend CWPPC!”
Middle and Upper School Book Clubs
There are two different book clubs that cater to stories for different ages and reading levels. Students in grades 5-8 are in one club, while Upper School has its own meetings for grades 9-12. Book club advisors strive to create a warm and student-centered experience where participants can both enjoy and be challenged by their peers as they consider literature through discussion, critical thinking, and reflection. Each fall, students help craft a yearly book list, then a rotation of student-led meetings fosters leadership and speaking skills. Book Club truly honors the Laurel Springs School mission by supporting students’ innate enthusiasm for learning.
Sharon Nolan is an LSS English teacher and the Upper School Book Club advisor. “Socially, I’ve been part of a book club for years, so I jumped at the H.S. Book Club advisor opportunity at LSS.” Since clubs are student-led, they’re the ones who choose the reading selections. So far, they’ve discussed everything from classics like The Hobbit, 1984, and A Tale of Two Cities, to present-day bestsellers including The Handmaid’s Tale, Educated, and Little Fires Everywhere. “I enjoy participating in book clubs because they not only encourage my favorite activity but they also introduce me to books I may not normally choose.” Mrs. Nolan says.
Join the Club in the Name of NaNoWriMo
“Clubs give students the opportunity to build relationships outside of the classroom with others who share their interests, and I love being a part of that community.” Sharon Nolan
All full-time Laurel Springs students have a wide variety of clubs to choose from. Whether they’re passionate about reading and writing or animals and science—or both—there’s something for everyone in every grade level. Hopefully NaNoWriMo sparks the inspiration for multiple creative projects and the motivation to look into all the clubs LSS offers. Contact email@example.com to learn more about what clubs are available and how students can join.