Writing Center Greatly Helps Students

By: Radhika Sharma ’14
Section Editor

Peddie has created a Writing Center for upperclassmen students to teach, aide and understand other students’ writing.

Held Sunday through Thursday from 8 PM to 10 PM and Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 AM to 10 AM, the writing center provides an outlet for students who need assistance with writing. It was founded in September by English teachers Courtney Jackson and Kurt Bennett.

Though writing centers are typically found in colleges, “writing centers made me a much better writer and can raise a writing culture at any school,” Bennett said.

“Whenever I talk about it, prospective students and their parents get really excited,” Abby Lloyd ’16 said. “They’re usually only at colleges, but Peddie is a leader in prep schools by starting one. It not only fosters relationships but is also a really good resource available for students that other schools don’t have.”

“I like it because it allows me to get a second opinion on my writing,” Elliott Waxman’16, a student who regularly goes to the Writing Center, said. “Additionally, it allows me to take more creative risks, knowing that I will be able to have another person help revise my essay before turning it in to a teacher.”

This year, the writing center is comprised of 11 senior mentors and one junior mentor. The students chosen to be fellows first applied to become fellows and then were interviewed in the spring term of last year.

“We looked for two main criterions when we selected students: academic strength and interpersonal skills,” Bennett said. “We want to pick students who are leaders, kind, easy to talk to, outgoing and will help underclassmen students grow.”
“I love the writing center,” Writing Center Fellow Katelyn Hennessy’14 said. “I think it is a great opportunity for underclassmen to get help. I know that I absolutely would have used it as a freshman if it had existed. I am very impressed with the amount of students who have utilized it so far.”

“The writing center has helped me immensely,” Waxman said. “I now can form an argumentative thesis statement and have developed more efficient proof reading habits. Students from the writing center also taught me how to properly insert quotations in essays.”

The Writing Center helps about two students per night. However, this number has recently been increasing due to new interest and growing relationships between the fellows and underclassmen students.

“It’s definitely a way to interact with upperclassmen,” Hennessy said. “The one-on-one interaction between upperclassmen and underclassmen is a great way of adjusting to life in high school.”

Fellows and students mutually benefit from the Writing Center because it helps upperclassmen learn how to teach and lead students and helps underclassmen continuously better their skills with someone who gets to personally know them.

“It’s really helpful! It’s really great because lately students have come with specific questions,” Writing Center Fellow Anna-Karin Hess’14 said. “It used to be that students just came with their essays and asked, ‘Can you help me with this?’ but lately they’ve been coming with less general questions and more specific ones. People who come here often get a lot more out of the extra help.”

Though the center is currently run by Jackson and Bennett, the center will soon be student-run with faculty advisors overseeing the program. Along with the 12 fellows who tutor, the program also has four junior fellows who Bennett and Jackson are training so that they can take a stronger leadership role next year.

“I don’t know if I would be at Peddie if I had not been part of a writing center,” Bennett said. “It [provides] for students an opportunity to cross over both leadership and career choices. It will expand to all different kinds of writing so that it’s not only about classroom writing, but also writing in general.”