Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Meet our 2015 summer interns!

We are fortunate to have five talented young adults as Brave Writer interns this summer, and you’ll be seeing them on the blog from time to time. You’ve already read Hannah’s lovely teatime post. We look forward to featuring all of our interns in the weeks and months to come!

Here are the 2015 Summer Interns:

Intern_AmyAmy Hughes took many Brave Writer classes during her homeschooling years. As a child, she started talking early and didn’t really stop. Now at university in her home country of New Zealand and studying German, English Language Linguistics, and Law, she still loves words. Writing (especially blogging), reading books, and talking to other people are her favorite kinds of activities.


Brave Writer 2015 Summer Intern Charlotte MeertWhen future historians refer to Charlotte Meert’s life, they’ll mention such things as, “She was born in France,” and “She ate excessive amounts of Nutella from the jar.” But they might miss out on the important aspects of her life, such as her utter obsession with the written word, and her appalling lack of skill with a pogo stick. It is to be hoped that her gleaming sense of humor and awkwardness in writing about herself third person are not overlooked. The year 1994 will always be remembered for having given birth to this oddball personality.


Brave Writer 2015 Summer Intern Finlay WorralloFinlay Worrallo is fifteen years old and lives in Swaledale, a beautiful valley in Britain. He enjoys reading books, writing stories, and watching Doctor Who. He loves studying languages, especially Spanish. People are always telling him how tall he is, which he’s heard before, and how good he looks in hats, which he likes to hear. He plans to write novels, act in plays, and travel the world when he’s an adult.


Brave Writer 2015 Summer Intern Hannah HayesHannah Hayes has spent the eighteen years of her life growing up in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She feels very fortunate to have received her writing instruction from Brave Writer, the place where writing becomes fun! Hannah hopes to study biology, English, and philosophy at a liberal arts college in pursuit of a medical degree. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, dancing, studying music, volunteering with the local garden club, and working as the page at her community’s library.


Brave Writer 2015 Summer Intern Vanessa ChebliHomeschooled from kindergarten through high school, Vanessa Chebli is currently a senior at American University in Washington, DC, majoring in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Writing is one of Vanessa’s passions, and Brave Writer was an integral part of cultivating that love throughout middle and high school. She is thrilled to be returning as one of their interns for the summer!

Student Spotlight: Megan Jula

Student SpotlightFormer Brave Writer student, Megan Jula, is a rising senior as a Journalism major at Indiana University!

Megan was one of five students chosen to participate in the 55th annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program’s writing competition.

She also had an article recently picked up by USA Today.

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Congratulations, Megan!

Growing Up with Brave Writer

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My mom discovered Brave Writer almost ten years ago, back in 2005. Since then, I have stumbled and soared through pretty much every aspect of the Brave Writer lifestyle.

We’ve had Tuesday Teatime as a family. (And, yes, we’ve been featured on the blog. Here’s the somewhat embarrassing post). My English prof in freshman year of college scoffed at the idea, but I’m pretty sure he was inwardly envious of growing up drinking tea, reading poetry, and eating cucumber sandwiches.

I’ve had screams of frustration and tears of rage with dictation and copywork from Arrow and Boomerang—though there were days when I did enjoy it, I promise!

Later, I took pretty much every online Brave Writer class that was offered, from Kidswrite Basic to the SAT essay class. My favorite by far was the Passion for Fiction class. I still use the writer’s notebook I created in that class!

And, of course, every Friday, I did a Friday Freewrite.

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Looking back today, one of my treasured possessions from growing up with Brave Writer is my Friday Freewrite notebook. On the outside, it’s an unassuming yellow checked notebook. Inside, it contains scribbles dating back to 2005, some of which were rather brilliant and most…less so. As I flip through it, I can find all of the following and more:

A schedule of my “ideal homeschool week”
Designs for my “dream summer cloths [sic]”
An entry beginning “I love having to do all the laundry”
An impassioned argument that Winston Churchill was totally boring
Moans of “When will this be over? In one minute. Yippee!!!!”
A book report on Uncle Tom’s Cabin
A five-page-long story of three kids and a magical creature in Venice

The very last entry I wrote in my freewrite notebook is a poem entitled “Brave.” I actually submitted it to the Brave Writer Blog, and you can read it here. The poem provides a glimpse of my growth as both a person and a writer. I learned that true courage lies in love. If I love something enough, whether it be writing or any other endeavor, then fear cannot stop me. That’s a lesson I’ve carried with me ever since.

So there you have it—my own personal journey growing up with Brave Writer. It’s had plenty of ups and downs (and, really, whose childhood hasn’t?). Still, I can safely say that I now write with courage, confidence, and joy, thanks to Brave Writer.

Kyriana Lynch is a writer, poet, and photographer. She was born in Japan, where she lived until age twelve. Her hobbies include reading Medieval literature, traveling around the world, and doodling in watercolor. She blogs on Christian Fantasy under her pseudonym Sienna North. Her debut novel, Red Sun Blue Earth (affiliate link), the story of a teen girl who survives Japan’s 2011 tsunami, was published March 2013.

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Gabrielle Linnell (The WJ Adventuring Maid!)

is published in the new edition of the Chicken Soup books: “Chicken Soup: Extraordinary Teens.” She’s been published over 30 times and will attend Wellesley College in the fall. I’m so proud of her! Her first published writing at age 8 is in our very own The Writer’s Jungle (pages 118-119). From there, she’s been writing for publication and heading up all kinds of great teen writing projects. It’s no surprise, really, that she’s been scooped up into the Chicken Soup vortex!

What I love about Brave Writer is the way so many of our students have found meaningful outlets for their passion for writing. Congratulations to Gabrielle! Look for her book in your local book store.

Good news, good news

I never get tired of hearing how Brave Writer students fare in college composition classes. Just yesterday, I ran into one of my local friends. I helped her son write his college admissions essay. He also took Kidswrite Basic back in junior high when I taught it. This is not a kid who I remember for his writing. He struck me as a typical boy writer who simply needed some coaxing to discover that the thoughts in his head deserved to be recorded in writing. He is more than able to tell a good story about himself and his experiences given the right set of questions and time to develop his thoughts. In working with him on the admissions essay, it was very enjoyable for me to see him develop insight into his experiences (more than merely reporting them).

So when I ran into his mom, she stopped me to say, “Dan got his first essay back in English Comp 101 at Miami of Ohio.”

“Oh?” I said. “How’d he do?” I expected her to tell me he had done well, earning an A or B (figuring she wouldn’t stop me to tell me he failed).

“Well, he not only got an A on his paper, the professor asked him to sign a permissions notice so that the department could publish his essay in the English department journal as an example of what a well-written essay should look like for incoming freshmen.”

“Nuh-uh,” I replied articulately.

“Yuh-huh,” she countered. And we both cracked up. Dan – her son, not her naturally-gifted writing daughters.

There’s something about those opening hooks, the ease with which Brave Writer kids learn to express themselves combined with their confidence in applying their writing voices to academic formats. Their writing wins over their professors. It keeps happening.

If you have a story to tell, please share it here!