McHenry High School starts a new Writers Week tradition

  • Author Courtney Stevens spoke to McHenry High School students at the Freshman Campus and Upper Campus, and gave an evening presentation at the McHenry Public Library, during the high school's first Writers Week.

    Author Courtney Stevens spoke to McHenry High School students at the Freshman Campus and Upper Campus, and gave an evening presentation at the McHenry Public Library, during the high school's first Writers Week. Courtesy of Carly Byer, McHenry Community High School District 156

 
 
Updated 2/17/2022 10:26 PM

McHenry High School was buzzing with words last week from the inaugural Writers Week celebration of writing and literature that was punctuated by the annual Poetry Slam for sophomore students.

The first weeklong celebration also included a partnership with the McHenry Public Library to bring author Courtney Stevens (who also writes as Court Stevens) to McHenry for talks at the library as well as the Freshman and Upper Campus.

 

It also included two Celebration of Words events where staff and students are invited to read their own work of the writing of someone they admire.

There was also a panel discussion with local authors, and a simile competition at the Freshman Campus.

During a Feb. 8 visit to the schools, Stevens, author of "Dress Codes for Small Towns," "Faking Normal," and "The Lies about Truth," encouraged McHenry High School students to dream big and keep writing.

Stevens also suggested that students interested in writing should start now by publishing short stories based on recent experiences.

"Once upon a time, writing a book was a thing on a list," Stevens said. "Now I'm holding a copy of my book."

On Feb. 7 and Feb. 11, students could read their own work or the favorite work of others during Celebration of Words events. And on Feb. 10, sophomore students held their culminating Poetry Slam to cap off the poetry unit in English classes.

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Sophomores presented their poems, and finalists were selected to read the poems to the rest of the class for judging. Poetry Slam events went on simultaneously in the school gymnasium and auditorium.

The following is a list of winners:

• Auditorium: First place, Mollie Hobson and Charlotte Alexander; second place, Ella Grechis, Riley Whitmore, Finn Hammerl, and Gabby Jonites; and third place, Rachel Kaminski

• Crowd Favorite: Esteban Sandria

• Gym: First place, Emma Garrett; second place, Kadin Henige; and third place, Lexi Wilde.

• Crowd Favorite: Nick Schmitz and Alejandro Mendez

Gina Nomikoudis, chair of the McHenry High School English division, said she's planning on continuing Writers Week each year to create excitement around writing and the annual Poetry Slam.

"It will get bigger," she said.