Write for Mississippi - “What Can We Do for Our Country?” essay collection

Participating high schools (33): Baldwyn, Clarksdale, Pontotoc, South Pontotoc, Mooreville, Eupora, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Winona, Kosciusko, Kemper County, Germantown, Rosa Scott, Sebastopol, Northeast Lauderdale, Meridian, Clinton, Murrah, Lanier, Northwest Rankin, Port Gibson, Crystal Springs, Mendenhall, Magee, Raleigh, Jefferson County, Franklin, Mississippi School of the Arts, Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, Greene County, Harrison Central, Vancleave, Pascagoula

Students impacted: 1,300
Volunteers: Approximately 30 writers and 40 teachers
Partnership duration: 1 year

In spring 2017, Write for Mississippi organized a series of creative writing workshops that put Mississippi writers into public high school classrooms across the state to help students generate poems, stories, and essays in response to the prompt “What’s a problem in your community, and how could you try to fix it?” A panel of elite judges selected the best 100 pieces to be included in a book entitled “What Can We Do for Our Country?” that was published and redistributed across the state. With help from a Mississippi Humanities Counci grant, copies of the book were also distributed to all 236 public library branches in Mississippi.

Activities:
  • Produced teachers’ guides and sample lesson plans
  • Student workshops led by guest writers
  • Program featured at 2017 Mississippi Book Festival
Impacts:
  • Led 50 workshops in 26 counties, reaching 1,300 students
  • Increased access to creative writing education
  • Connected students with professionals in the arts
  • Helped students achieve greater sense of self-worth and empowerment