12 December 2017
The start of the 2017-2018 school year brought along a new opportunity for the literarily inclined students of Atholton High School. Intermediate Composition, a group that meets biweekly during Raider Time on Wednesdays, serves as somewhat of a replacement for Advanced Composition, one of the few courses that were eliminated due to under-enrollment.
Advanced Composition was a course designed to help students develop their creative writing pieces as opposed to the more technical or professional writings that many common core English classes focus on. Students were also able to bring in pieces for workshopping under the guidance of Mr. Stuppy. A few times each school year, the students would be able to submit their works and have them published in the school’s literary magazine, Additions.
Senior Dan Leshchyshyn stated, “I felt rather proud of myself when a draft of Mazepa [an original one-act play] was published in the last edition of Additions. My grandparents and parents were also rather proud of me becoming a published author. Being published is sort of similar to the high one gets after a great performance.”
Mr. Stuppy, alongside many students, was saddened by the abolition of Advanced Composition. Thus, in an attempt to create a new organization that would serve a similar purpose, at the end of last year Mr. Stuppy reached out to interested students and clubs and proposed the idea of Intermediate Composition.
Intermediate Composition, as mentioned above, is a new organization that greatly resembles Advanced Composition. Despite that, there are still a number of differences between the two that are worth noting.
“Intermediate Composition is less formal than Advanced Composition,” commented Sydnie Camassar, a senior who was enrolled in Advanced Composition last year. “Since it’s not a class anymore, we won’t be receiving any grades, and we meet less often instead of 50 minutes everyday.”
Like Advanced Composition, Intermediate Composition also provides students with an opportunity to workshop their pieces.
“I joined Intermediate Composition for the company of other writers, and to have access to the workshops and such,” said Leshchyshyn.
The workshopping process is inclusive for all members, allowing one person to present their work and have the rest of the group comment on it. Index cards are also provided for students to write any suggestions on, and are then passed back to the author to provide him or her with the feedback. Everyone who wants to participate is given the chance, but no one is forced to share something they’re uncomfortable with.
“It’s a very kind and inclusive group. There’s little to no pressure, and everyone is exceptionally inviting and encouraging,” commented junior Christian Maric.“It seemed like a really nice safe space.”
Many members are grateful for an opportunity to write in school, as it appears to be a common theme that not a lot of students have the chance to write outside of the classroom.
Maric said, “Oftentimes my schedule didn’t leave any spare time, much less time for writing, so it was nice to find a group that encouraged it and gave us a time during school to write as we pleased.”
With the first new edition of Additions scheduled to be published sometime in third quarter, many students are excitedly anticipating its release and are working hard to put the finishing touches on their pieces. Many students, like Leshchyshyn, feel a sense of pride knowing that something they created is going to be to be published in a legitimate book.
“It’s an interesting type of accomplishment,” Maric said, “and it gives your work a kind of validation that is hard to describe.”
Camassar offered another perspective, claiming that it might be “scary at first” but overall is an incredibly rewarding experience “especially when you know you’ve included something that you have spent time and effort on.”
Additions was a very popular aspect of Advanced Composition, and Mr. Stuppy is very excited to be able to bring it back. With Intermediate Composition, the opportunities for publication are now open to the entire population of Atholton High School, not just those who took the class
Even though Intermediate Composition is still relatively new to our high school, it looks as though this group is going to prosper among the Atholton community, as shown through the words of Maric himself: “Intermediate Composition is a great part of my week. It’s calm, but appropriately emotional, and it’s a unique and wonderful place to be.”