Claudia Rankine visits Franklin High School

Claudia Rankine visits Franklin High School

Franklin High School students were ready with questions when Claudia Rankine visited their the library on the morning before her Portland Arts & Lectures event. Rankine began by telling them how she was born in Jamaica and came to the United States as a seven-year-old. Her first experience with poetry was memorizing Emily Dickinson in…

WITS Reading for Madison at Bipartisan Cafe

WITS Reading for Madison at Bipartisan Cafe

Our Thursday evening WITS reading for Madison High School students at Bipartisan Cafe began with the audience of nearly 50 people singing “Happy Birthday” to the first student reader. He was one of several writers who shared powerful personal stories. The personal pieces included accounts of bullying, getting lost while crossing borders, and learning English.…

WITS Reading for Cleveland HS at Ford Food + Drink

WITS Reading for Cleveland HS at Ford Food + Drink

by Mel Wells Fifteen Cleveland High School students shared their work with an audience of friends, family, and other community members at Ford Food + Drink last night. These students spent several weeks working with a WITS writers-in-residence to create, revise, and present their work. Students in two of Susie Brighouse’s English classes worked with…

Jesmyn Ward Visits Benson High School

Jesmyn Ward Visits Benson High School

As Jesmyn Ward talked and answered their questions, the student audience in the Benson High School library listened in pin-drop silence, hanging on her every word. Ward, who made history last fall by becoming the first woman to win two National Book Awards in fiction, was frank and open about her journey to becoming a…

Reza Aslan visits Lincoln High School

Reza Aslan visits Lincoln High School

by Mel Wells On the afternoon before his lecture at the Schnitz, Reza Aslan met with 32 students at Lincoln High School who work on their school magazine and the newspaper, The Cardinal Times.  Perched on a stool at the front of the classroom, Aslan began by telling students about his background and his journey…

College Essay Mentoring Project: Fall 2017

College Essay Mentoring Project: Fall 2017

by Mel Wells We had a busy and wonderful fall with the College Essay Mentoring Project! We returned to Franklin, Madison, and Roosevelt, and partnered with Gresham High School for the very first time. We held two sessions at Franklin and Roosevelt, for a grand total of six mentoring sessions at the high schools. A…

George Saunders at Madison High School

George Saunders at Madison High School

by Mel Wells Award-winning author George Saunders had an immediate rapport with students at Madison High School when he visited their library on a rainy Thursday morning. About 95 students came prepared with questions and listened intently to Saunders’ entertaining stories and advice.  After a great introduction by Madison student Carson Flores, Saunders began by…

Francis Ford Coppola Visits Grant High School

Francis Ford Coppola Visits Grant High School

  by Joanna Rose, WITS Program Specialist On the afternoon of October 2, 2017, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola visited Grant High School, an author visit facilitated by Youth Programs at Literary Arts.  Coppola sat at ease in front of 86 Grant High School students, and started right out telling them that high schools and…

Gresham High School WITS Reading at Origins Coffee, Tea & Desserts

Gresham High School WITS Reading at Origins Coffee, Tea & Desserts

By Kate Jayroe, WITS PSU MFA Intern On Thursday May 25, 2017, WITS was happy to host Gresham High School’s end of residency reading at Origin’s Coffee, Tea & Desserts. Ten students read moving pieces of poetry, bold works of short fiction, earnest personal essays, and short memoirs to an audience of forty people. The…

P.C. Cast visits Madison High School

P.C. Cast visits Madison High School

by Mel Wells We brought New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast to Madison High School to visit with Brooke Bettencourt’s Language Arts class this week in the library, and everyone had a great time together. Cast has sold over 20 million copies of her books in over 40 countries. She had no shortage of life experience…