At the WITS Orientation in early September, new WITS writer Sarah Jaffe read from her response to a writing prompt about what she loved and hated about high school: “I remember that I loved picking out my own classes once I got to high school. And how you didn’t have to just be popular or unpopular any more. And I remember lockers.” As the seven new WITS writers went around the room and shared pithy anecdotes about their high school experiences, everyone laughed, reminded of both the excitement and the frustrations of adolescence.

Fifteen returning and seven new writers gathered for the WITS Orientation at p:ear, a community center which serves homeless youth through arts and education. At the start of each season, Literary Arts holds an orientation for the writers in the program to discuss effective strategies for working with high school students, and to provide an opportunity for the new writers to meet the returning writers in the program, with whom they can exchange feedback on their successes and challenges as they progress through their residencies.

The orientation, led by program director Mary Rechner and program assistant and former writer in the schools, Joanna Rose, was fun and informative, providing writers with informational tools and resources they can utilize as they face the various rewards and challenges of teaching creative writing to young adults. Joanna Rose shared some of her most memorable successes and “greatest mistakes”, from her many years of working as a WITS writer. Both new and returning writers doubtlessly took away valuable information and the encouragement to ask for help from the WITS program and their talented peers.

This year, Literary Arts welcomes Sarah Jaffe, Katie Schneider, Arnie Seong, Devan Schwartz, Elyse Fenton, Amanda Gersh, and Emily Harris to WITS, along with 15 returning writers. You can read their bios at:

http://www.literary-arts.org/wits/writers.php

-Acacia, WITS Intern