Students from Adelphi and Queens High School of Teaching collaborated on a memoir-writing project that strengthened an already solid partnership between the schools.
by Cecil Harris
During six Wednesdays in the Fall 2014 semester, five students from Adelphi University accompanied Diana Feige, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, to the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences (QHST) for a creative writing project that served to strengthen an already solid partnership between the schools.
QHST, in Bellerose, Queens, is where many Adelphi teaching candidates gain valuable classroom experience and where several Adelphi graduates now teach. QHST students and faculty also visit Adelphi for campus tours and other events.
As partners in prose, Dr. Feige and her students joined with nine QHST students and QHST English teacher Lori Mayo to form a Herstory Writers Workshop group in a memoir-writing project.
“This partnership is special because both schools have such a strong sense of community,” Dr. Feige said. “Everyone in our writers’ group has been very supportive of one another.”
Each writer’s selection addressed the question: What would people learn about you if they met you for the first time? The workshop culminated with 15 writers reading their works at an event called Youth Writing for Justice at QHST on December 10, 2014.
“It’s been a great experience for my kids to meet the Adelphi students because it shows my kids what they’re working toward—a college education,” Mayo said in a library filled with students, teachers and other invited guests. “It’s great for our students to hear stories from Adelphi students who come from other countries because it broadens their perspective.”
Each of the Adelphi students—Ruizi “Emma” Wang, Tingting Cui, Jacqueline Perez, Jenny Turcios and Anu Rameshan—and Dr. Feige read selections.
Emma and Tingting are master’s degree candidates from China in the Bilingual/TESOL program. They were encouraged to join the workshop by Daryl Gordon, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Ammon School. Tingting wrote of feeling ostracized as a second child in China, where the government allows one child per family. Emma wrote of her success finding an apartment on Long Island, where she had known no one.
“This was the first time I presented my story in front of other people—it felt amazing,” Emma said with a smile. “I liked this program because I could hear different voices and different stories.”
Turcios, a native of El Salvador, wrote about trying to assimilate in America as one who speaks Spanish-accented English and English-accented Spanish. “So who can I be?” she wrote. “I know I can’t be neither [English nor Salvadoran]. But can I be both?”
The next writers’ workshop in the successful Adelphi-QHST partnership will begin in March 2015.
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