Lincoln-Way Central student attends summer writing workshop, wins scholarship
Friday, August 26, 2016

Shortly before summer break of 2016, English teacher Sara Davy presented her students with a brochure for a summer writing camp. As an avid writer, the opportunity grabbed the attention of then-freshman Elizabeth Shaver. “I like writing a lot, so I was interested. I’ve noticed that I’m writing an essay and I’m excited about writing it...I’ve had fantastic English teachers so far.”
The Young Writer's Workshop at Southern Illinois University hosts 30 students over a four-day period. While there, high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are able to develop their writing skills in poetry and prose. Shaver’s attendance has given her a head start into her sophomore year, where she’s already putting those writing skills into action.

“Sometimes I get the feeling that I want to read a certain story, but if I can’t find it, I like to write it myself,” she says. Shaver says that her participation in the writing workshop allowed her to become a better writer overall, as well as make good friends.

Shaver attended the workshop from June 22 through June 25, where she participated in a variety of exercises and activities with other students from the Midwest. She learned how to make her poetry sound more enticing and how to make her stories’ characters more relatable. While there, Shaver was able to speak with authors such as Laura Benedict, Jonathan Travelstead, and Jason Lee Brown.

“It really surprised me to meet the authors. The way they were in person was so much different than their writing. I met a very nice author, and then I’d read her books and they’d be horror books. I was thinking ‘This just doesn’t match,’” she says.
At the end of the writer’s workshop, students submitted written pieces for review. The results proved that the skills Shaver learned were more than educationally beneficial; they were financially beneficial as well. Shaver was one of only two students awarded with a scholarship for her story, which covered half of the cost of the workshop.

English Teacher Sara Davy says, “The fact that students give up their summer days to pursue educational opportunities speaks volumes. We are constantly impressed by Elizabeth’s talent and desire to develop her writing skills. I can already see her growth in confidence as well, which was another benefit to the entire experience. Her hard work and dedication make us proud!”