Twice-Told Tale

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Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

“Write of Passage” Pens a Creative Outlet

Sofia Tenghoff
(Above) Last school year, Write of Passage created a display of book recommendations. This display was situated in the Calkins Library and had recommendations written by various club members. Write of Passage has a tendency to be a very creative space, and books can help foster that creativity. Club member Emma Aiken, grade 9, says, “My favorite thing about writing is the freedom I get to create a world that is nothing like the one we live in. I like that I am surrounded by people who have a similar interest in writing.”

Lake Highland’s writing club, Write of Passage, has existed for over four years. In the past, it created writing contests for Lower School students to enter and helped write artifact captions for Orlando’s Holocaust Memorial Center. It is overseen by Lake Highland’s A.P. Language and Composition teacher, Mrs. Tracy Fordham. The previous club president, Madeline JeBailey, Class of 2023, created Write of Passage during her Freshman year of high school, but this year, Lake Highland’s Write of Passage club had a change in leadership. The new president, Ibrahim Naseeruddin, grade 11, took charge of the club last year. He says he was inspired to become club president because he has, “Been in this club since [his] Freshman year. [He] enjoyed it then, and [he] hope[s] to try to bring that joy to the club onwards.” 

During the 2023 semester, the club has met several times to help each other with writing and to discuss various writing skills. These meetings sometimes involve the opportunity for club members to share their writing with each other. After sharing, other club members can give feedback and comments on the shared piece, which provides support. In the past, Write of Passage has held even more creative writing contests for Lower School students, with winners being published in Upper School’s literary magazine By Any Other Name. These contests have varied from recruiting short stories to essays and poetry, and they create an outlet for creative self-expression for Highlanders at a young age. 

Such an open and supportive environment is important to Lake Highland–especially with its values of love, concern, and mutual respect–and to all communities at a time when human creativity itself is in jeopardy. This loss of creativity is more potent in creative writing. To look into how this alleged loss of creativity may exist at Lake Highland, it could be useful to examine the Write of Passage club. Renessa Ghosh, grade 11, an active club member, says her favorite thing about writing is that it feels like a, “Productive way to channel [her] creativity,” and that, “It’s fun to just make things up.” Naseeruddin, grade 11, says writing, “Allows [him] to build a whole world within a few words.” These factors become major motivators in writing fiction or nonfiction, as they allow people to get their thoughts out and then organize them, leading to clear drafts.

Once they have clear drafts based on topics that are passionate about, young writers can find more enjoyment and be further motivated to keep writing stronger pieces. Write of Passage stresses that at its core, the fuel of writing is creation in and of itself. 

A main component of creative writing, however, is the community aspect of it. Ghosh said that the Write of Passage club is, “A really safe space to get feedback and also learn how to write at the same time. It’s like a think tank.” Naseerudin finds that in regards to club members helping each other get better at writing, “Group workshopping has always been a good way to improve on writing skills.” With in-person groups like Write of Passage and online writing groups like Write the World so widely available nowadays, more and more teens are experiencing the sense of feedback and connection that Ghosh describes. In both Write of Passage and Write the World, there are benefits and values of having other people to bounce ideas off of during the writing process. 

But what if the increased presence of these communities, via the aid of the Internet, is at the heart of the problem? In small groups like the Write of Passage club, people only get a few, staggered examples of other people’s writing. Therefore, new writers are forced to come up with their own styles of writing. However, in online groups such as Write the World, a virtually unlimited ocean of examples of writing is available to anyone who cares to look. Not only does this prevent the younger generation from using their own creativity and critical thinking skills, but for those looking for inspiration, it can lead to an overwhelming amount of pressure and self-comparison. 

While there are certainly many factors that can contribute to a loss of creativity, it would certainly be beneficial to take breaks from online peer review writing sites and interact more with smaller, in-person communities. Thankfully, Lake Highland’s Write of Passage Club provides such a space, and it’s only going to improve from here on out, as Naseerudin says he hopes to, “Start up the after-school workshops soon, and start up some methods to tutor kids in creative writing to help them with their skills.” Ghosh has added that even for people who don’t enjoy creative writing, Write of Passage is extremely helpful for writing skills necessary for the ACT, SAT, and college application essays. For high school students, those pursuits are almost always relevant, so Write of Passage offers a broad range of help. By providing such a community, Lake Highland’s Write of Passage club is an optimal place for students to maintain their creativity and grow in all aspects of their writing.

(Above) (From left to right) Aiden Cardwell and Brendan discuss classwork in Lake Highland’s Porter Family Center for Innovation and Academics common area. This area is part of the Kind Library, which stretches between the Porter Building’s first and second floors and offers Lake Highland students a wide selection of free books. Reading is a big part of learning how to write well, so this resource is extremely helpful to students interested in creative writing. (Sofia Tenghoff)
(Above) Ibrahim Naseeruddin, grade 11, President of the Write of Passage club, participates in a hospital simulator with other members of David Copperfield’s Project Magic. Naseeruddin is highly involved in school activities, and he says he hopes to, “Start up some methods to tutor kids in creative writing to help them with their skills.” This tutoring would be part of the Write of Passage club and would deviate from NEHS tutoring in that it would deal with creative writing, not just essays. Photo by Sofia Tenghoff. (Sofia Tenghoff)
(Above) Write the World holds a new writing competition each month with a different focus each time. This month’s challenge is a songwriting competition. Write the World’s free writing feature allows teens to publish drafts of their writing on the website and receive peer feedback from other teens. The website is free and easy to navigate, and it has thousands of users. (Sofia Tenghoff)
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About the Contributor
Sofia Tenghoff
Sofia Tenghoff is a staff member of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. She is also a staff member of the school's literary magazine By Any Other Name. Tenghoff's favorite hobby is creative writing, and she has published a personal essay in Teen Ink and won the Middle School First Page Story Contest in grade 8. She is now a Junior in high school. When Tenghoff isn't writing, she enjoys running, reading, drawing, and computer programming.

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