Ward Melville’s National Day on Writing

Olivia Hu, Staff Writer

On October 20, 2013, Ward Melville’s English Department celebrated the 5th annual National Day on Writing. English classes were instructed to write 150 characters on the prompt, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” The students taped their responses, written on colorful 5.5 by 11 inch sheets, on large rolls of paper hung in the halls. the responses were later shared as part of Cinnabar’s Coffeehouse.

The National Day on Writing, hosted by the National Council of Teachers of English, is an annual event designed to draw attention to the act that is an omnipresent part of everyday life. According to the NCTE’s website, the Day “points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university (see The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor), emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.”

Ward Melville appears to see the National Day on Writing as a chance to get to the heart of writing; teachers and students alike remark on the refreshing break from academic writing.

Jack Press, a senior, declared that “the National Day On Writing is a great way of expressing your emotions. Hold on- hold on – quote the hold on too… Your day begins dreary, and you’re tired. But then you walk into English class, and you realize that you’re going to write a 150 character quote about the prompt. That is how I want to start my day, every day.”

The English teachers of Ward Melville also appreciate the break from formal writing and a chance for the students to express themselves through the written word.

Ms. Thomas, an English teacher, said “I’m very happy that we dedicate this time to writing, because a lot of times in our classrooms, we don’t get the opportunity to do that… especially creative writing, or original, thoughtful self-generated kind of writing. I think it’s really important to take a minute and realize the importance of writing in our lives. And the assignment is an amazing chance to do that.”

“Students are very engaged in the assignment because they value writing. And thinking. And writing,” said Ms. Etheridge, a 10th and 12th grade English teacher and rollerskater. “Students were immediately inspired by the quote, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake;” we discussed dreams as motifs in poetry, prose, music, and our lives. Each of us thought of a creative and meaningful interpretation.”