Writing program benefits both McDaniel tutors and their students

November 07, 2011

When McDaniel Writing Center tutors teamed up to help 11 middle-school students from the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster (BGCW) polish their writing, both tutors and students learned important lessons.

The six-week-long writing program was just the most recent of a dozen activities in the year since President Roger Casey installed a gate in the fence that separated campus from the club and made the college-BGCW partnership official.

Poised and confident, one after another young writer took the podium Nov. 9 to read the narrative they wrote as a result of the collaboration. In the audience, their mentors perched on the edge of their seats while listening intently to every single, often funny, phrase.

Shirley, a sixth grader at West Middle School, wrote about seeing a cockroach in a Laundromat when she was 6 years old and running outside to a pay phone. You can watch Matthew, another middle school student, read his essay about how he broke his leg below.

"I dial in 9-1-1 but my mom sees me outside so I hang up the phone. My mom doesn’t want me to go outside the Laundromat because I’m so small and cute," she read, smiling demurely as she delivers the "so small and cute."

McDaniel senior Betsy Warner grinned ear-to-ear too as she listened to Shirley read "Calling Cops ’Cause of Cockroaches." After shepherding Shirley through brainstorming and composing and editing and even practicing public speaking, Warner beamed with pride in Shirley’s accomplishment.

"I really enjoy working with students, teaching them and seeing the finished product," Warner said.

Writing Center director Owen Horton, who piloted the program, praised his instructors and described the experience as mutually beneficial.

"I hope that my instructors gained the valuable teaching experience that should be the cornerstone of a liberal arts education, and I hope that our students came to understand how much value is in their writing," Horton said in his introduction.

Casey and his wife, Robyn Allers, will host a holiday party Dec. 9 honoring and celebrating the Boys and Girls Club and the first anniversary of the partnership.

Watch 5 different students recite their stories :