Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Gabrielle Linnell (The WJ Adventuring Maid!)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

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!

Thank you note

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Dear Bogart Family,

Thank you for the money. I would most like to thank you for the help with my college (application) essay. With my grades and ACT scores, it may be all that got me to college.


This “graduation gift thank you” note cracked me up so much, I saved it in my “favorite notes from former students” file. Dan was a wonderful student with good grades and more than adequate ACT scores. But I sure appreciated his enthusiasm for his essay. It turned out to be a favorite with me. He wrote about how his experience on a high school football team taught him, a white kid in a majority black school, the importance of diversity and the power of friendship to transcend racial differences. Terrific little essay that I had the privilege of coaxing and editing.