Saturday, September 26, 2015

The HWC is counting down to CAPTA 2015!

Happy new school year, Herndon! The HWC is preparing for our grand opening on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, with lots of tutor training activities. We are also counting down the days until 19 of our nearly 40 tutors attend the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association's 2015 Conference, CAPTA Connects, on Friday October 2.The HWC is also very excited that our school principal, Mr. Bates, has been asked to sit on a panel of high school principals and discuss how to support and sustain high school writing centers. To say this year has been off to an exciting start would be an understatement!

9 of our veteran tutors will be presenting at CAPTA. Please read their abstracts below and wish them the best of luck next Friday! More detailed information about CAPTA Connects is available on the CAPTA website.

Tutoring the Tutor: Activities to Prepare First-Year Tutors
Marcus B. (Grade 11), Niki P. (Grade 12), and Patrick V. (Grade 11)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia

In our presentation, we are looking to explore different in-class activities that can prepare new tutors for the writing center. Each of us will go into detail about one exercise that we thought have impacted us to better our tutoring and ourselves    personally. As second-year tutors, we’ve found that activities that incorporate creativity, focus, and interactivity gave us deeper insight into the field of peer tutoring. By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to take home these exercises and hopefully use them in their writing center’s tutoring preparation. [60 min] 

 Plot to Page and Back Again: Connecting Tutoring and Creative Writing
Sofia C. (Grade 11)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia

 The audience will examine the link between tutoring and personal work, particularly creative writing, and a discuss how to strengthen that link. This presentation covers the benefits of working on personal projects, proposes curriculum in a class    format that promotes personal work, and helps tutors apply skills from tutoring to constructive self-criticism. Focus will be given to topics like structure and planning of potential projects and assignments. Participants will receive materials including an organizer for plotting use of tutoring techniques and suggestions for curriculum. The presentation will include advice on how individuals can begin and improve their own creative projects. [25 min]

Tossing the Salad: How a Mentorship Program Can Increase Diversity in the Writing Center
Jaiden C. (Grade 12)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia 

In this presentation we will introduce a mentorship program that strives to incorporate a diverse and passionate group of tutors into the Writing Center. We will cover how and why diversity is of monumental importance in any writing center and how this program will help reflect the growing range of students and ideas that seem to bloom more beautifully each year. This program will help students of all English levels become a part of the Writing Center.  [25 min]

A Breath of Fresh Air: How Writing Center Atmospheres Create a Stronger Connection between Tutors and Tutees
Emma G. (Grade 12)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia

The perfect writing center atmosphere will be defined through discussions with fellow tutors. Tutors will share what adds to their writing center atmosphere, and all will determine what it takes to achieve the best atmosphere for a writing center. A third year tutor will lead a conversation about the many aspects that the writing center must pay attention to in order to secure an inviting atmosphere. The attendees will leave feeling certain of what contributes to a writing center atmosphere and what they can do for their center to achieve a friendly and approachable writing center. [25 min] 

Creative Connections: A Club to Ignite Lifelong Writing Passion
Emily G. (Grade 11) and Lindsey R. (Grade 11)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia

This presentation will examine the importance in connecting tutees to sustained creative writing interest. We will provide a model for a program where “unconnected” students are invited to develop their talent with the help highly qualified tutors. This way, students who love writing for pleasure can finally enter a warm, collaborative community of like-minded peers, and focus solely on creative pieces rather than academic ones. By offering an in-depth explanation of the program and how to best implement it, along with demonstrating the creative nature of our monthly meetings with an example writing prompt, we will thoroughly describe how to establish this creative connection. [60 min] 

Stretching to the Greatest Lengths
Jessie W. (Grade 11)
Herndon High School, Herndon, Virginia

Tutors may be looking for solutions to common problems in the Writing Center, focusing on growing the number of tutees who come on their own. Tutors join the Writing Center for the love of writing and their confidence in the abilities they possess. If these tutors are left to tutor once every couple of weeks, the reasoning for joining the Writing Center is lost. Creating a Writing Center that can grow in the number tutees served while growing in tutors is the ultimate goal in any tutoring environment. Participants will receive ideas for monthly activities and ideas for how to set up tutoring in the cafeteria and the library. Participants will also have the chance to discuss the ways they have accommodated a growing population of tutors in their school. [10 min]

Friday, June 12, 2015

Good Luck to Our Seniors!!!!

Today we're showcasing our graduating Seniors, who we are going to miss so much! 

Bryce B.

Years in the HWC: 1

College: American University

Major: Strategic Communications

What will Bryce miss most about the HWC?: I’ll miss the people the most.

What will we miss about Bryce?: His awesome personality and his smokin’ hot looks….Also he’s my favorite and the nicest guy ever. <3- Jessie W.

Martha B.

 Years in the HWC: 1

College: NOVA and then William & Mary

Major: Biology and Pre-Med

What will Martha miss most about the HWC?: The spark of “Oh!” when a tutee finally gets something they didn’t before. AND Ms. Gillen/Hutton.

What will we miss about Martha? Her super amazing smile!!! J - Jaiden C.

 Sam C.

Years in the HWC: 3

College: Virginia Tech

Major: International Studies

What will Sam miss most about the HWC?: What I'm going to miss most is seeing and working with some of my best friends as tutors everyday!

What will we miss most about Sam? He knows and cares a lot about everything he does, and that spreads around to everyone else. He’s the heart, soul, backbone, and major internal organs of the HWC. – Marcus and Sofia

Patrick G.

Years in the HWC: 1

College: Christopher Newport University

Major: Computer Science or something.

What will Patrick miss most about the HWC?: Chick Fil A.

What will we miss about Patrick? His humor and his fashionista style. His music choices are on fleek. <3 –Jessie W

Matt L.

Years in the HWC: 2

College:  Virginia Tech

Major: Physics

What will Matt miss most about the HWC?: Tutoring people and pizza Fridays.

What will we miss about Matt? I’m going to miss his awesome pieces of writing and sitting next to him for the year.- Lindsey R

Lennon M.

Years in the HWC: 2

College: James Madison University

Major: Psychology

What will Lennon miss most about the HWC?: Ms. Hutton, Mrs. Jewell, and the writing center family.

What will we miss about Lennon? His sarcastic remarks, his lackadaisical attitude, and his killer playlists. - Emma

 Danny V.

Years in the HWC: 3

College: Carnegie Mellon University

Major: Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering.

What will Danny miss most about the HWC?:I am going to miss being able to walk out of the writing center each and every day feeling like I have made a significant and measurable impact to help the students at HHS. I will also miss hanging with my brother during lunches.

What will we miss about Danny? I will miss Danny’s sense of humor and the way he tied the class together with his charm and wit.- Robbie D. I will miss having a stolen lunch. –Danny’s brother Patrick V.
 Shelley Y.

Years in the HWC: 3

College: Cornell University

Major: Chemical Engineering

What will Shelley miss most about the HWC?:  The amazing friends I have made. It was wonderful to be apart of such a loving Writing Center community.

What will we miss about Shelley?: I will miss her sweet personality and amazing tutoring skills! She’s someone who makes a perfect role model for both HWC tutors and students in general. I’ll definitely miss her kind smile and presence, but I know she’s headed for greatness!- Emily G

 Olivia L.

Years in the HWC: 1

College: Virginia Tech

What will we miss about Olivia? I’ll miss how friendly she is to everyone and how easy it is to have a conversation with her. –Niki P.

Friday, June 5, 2015

"What is an Immigrant?" by Martha B.

               What is an immigrant?

What does an Illegal immigrant look like?

I saw one that looked like the desert, a little rough around the edges and humbly dry.

An illegal immigrant looks like a coin, a penny maybe, tails up on the asphalt, dropped from the group of quarters.

She looks like dirty rough towels and bleached sheets tucked tight into never ending beds, fifteen stories tall.

they look like a purple grape, bruises confused for stains, picked by the millions for only a few coins of that million, Could you spare a little more?

surely you can

he looks like that boy over there, I never bothered to learn his name but his lunch is green wrapped in a soggy paper towel and it  reeks    

What does an illegal immigrant taste like?

she tastes like chili powder, tingly on your tongue, on lips like America

he tastes like tears, salty and sweet on a set of cheeks that are too thin for the pair of bones protruding from his face

What does an illegal immigrant feel like?

He feels like rain pelting on the back of a worn out plaid shirt, dry and re-dry unknowing if it’ll survive another rain storm. Maybe this time the water will leak through the material and into his heart

but it never does, it never does.

An immigrant looks like the Chinese Exclusion act, he looks like a man sitting on a bench in Arizona wanting to hide himself, did he bring along his papers? but how can he hide himself?   

she looks like food, fried and baked, behind a counter and she’s sorry, she is, and she’d like to get to know you.

an illegal immigrant looks like a ship, in 1492 sailing for the ocean blue

So what exactly does an immigrant look like?

they look familiar

Kind of like me, like my mom and my dad

and if you look closely enough they look a little like you.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

"An Unusual Encounter at the Dentist’s Office" by Victoria Lemmings

I’ve always hated the dentist. Always. Ever since I was five and Dr. Thorpe tattled to my mom that I hadn’t been brushing every night, and then my mom cut off my candy supply for weeks. Why would he do such a cruel, unforgiving thing? Since then, I’ve gone through five dentists, but none of them ever worked out for some reason or another. I moved a couple times, got on new dental insurance, had a couple irreconcilable differences with a few, and just never ended up having the same dentist for more than a couple years. Sure, I might not be the best at brushing my teeth, but it’s not like I was hurting anyone. Now I was going to my new dentist, Dr. Jean, for the first time, and I had to admit I was quite nervous. I’ve never trusted dentists, and Dr. Jean was no exception. Especially because it was the first time I was visiting his office and he had already ordered me to have a tooth pulled based on instructions from my previous dentist. They’re probably all in cahoots trying to make my life miserable.

I walked into the dentist’s office with my mom about ten minutes before my scheduled appointment. I sat in the office, immediately feeling uneasy by all the animated teeth with wide smiles that stared at me from posters on the wall from every angle. With every passing minute, I more strongly considered bolting. Who even knew what kind of weird drugs they would put me under for the surgery? I didn’t know much about the procedure, but I knew that there were infamous YouTube videos of poor individuals afterwards who don’t even know their own names and are bumbling around, talking nonsense under the heavy depressants. In a whirl, I was called into the office and put under the florescent lights on a tan cushioned reclining chair with an unusually gleeful nurse smiling down at me with unnaturally white, gleaming teeth. My mom stood by my side, reassuringly holding my hand that was shaking in my nervousness.

“Now, this won’t hurt a bit” the nurse gleamed at me, “but it might make you a little sleepy…” All of a sudden I felt a thin needle slide into my arm and my vision blurred around the edges before everything slowly turned dark, then black all at once. I was floating up, out of the chair, out of the office, out of my life.

It was minutes later, or maybe it was hours. As I regained consciousness, I realized I was no longer in the tan reclining chair at the dentist’s office. But if I was no longer at the dentist’s, where was I? I realized that I was sitting upright on a new chair, this time with a dark blue soft covering. It was fancy and proper. Looking around, I came to terms with my surroundings. I was sitting in a nice seat next to a wide window, overlooking the dull countryside as we were whirling by. I was on a train, plummeting to an unknown destination. In a panic, I jumped out of my seat. There were other seats by the window, but they were all barren. I rushed forward, jumping into the next car, looking for somebody who could help me. Finally, I found the conductor, tucked up in the front of the car looking perfectly calm and content.

“Excuse me sir,” I scrambled to talk, “Where exactly are we going? I don’t remember getting on this train, and I would like to get off.”

With a chuckle, the conductor placed a large hand on my shoulder and said, “Oh, dear, you can’t get off, that’s not quite an option here.”

“Wh-what do you mean?” I questioned. Nothing was making sense and the panic was starting to set in.

“Your dentists wanted you here” the man replied evenly. “You’re going to see what happens to kids who don’t brush their teeth.”

"Piano and Writing" by Catfish

I played piano up until I was in 5th grade. I like to say that it wasn’t so much giving up as it was just me dedicating my time somewhere else. That isn’t true, I definitely quit. I go to concerts now though, and I see some maestro rocking out on the keys and I feel jealous of his talent. I feel like I had the potential within me to possibly be some sort of performer that way if I had just a little more gumption to me and a little less stage fright. In a way, when I write, when I type, I can pretend as if I play a keyboard on my laptop. It’s like I can compose melodies with phrases, and feel the crescendo of the rising action. I play softly for a more pensive passive tone, and I pray I end on a high note. I compose requiems, and I hear them sound incorrect, so I bang on the backspace hoping for some comeback to reveal itself in later portions of my piece. It’s sloppy and I hear the twang of the keys and I realize that this is the reason I quit piano when I was in fifth grade. I don‘t like it when it doesn’t sound good, when it isn’t perfect. What I have learned though is that the music can sound better despite those flaws, and if a note is held for long enough, if I hold out on these hobbies, then I can find harmony. I only hope it can resonate in the listener’s ears.

Friday, May 22, 2015

"All a Dream" by Cadence Sinclair

It was just another day. Another Tuesday was passing as casually as a spring rain shower, the ones that last no more than a blink of an eye, the ones that sometimes you never even notice because they come and go so swiftly. This particular Tuesday was as unremarkable as any other, neither harmful nor harmless. Or so it seemed.

I was riding my bike along this wooded path in the late afternoon, deep enough in that the sun’s intense rays could only faintly penetrate, and I was oddly calm. I even began humming gently, nearly imperceptibly, feeling compelled by the serenity surrounding me and my pale blue bike. The pleasant airiness that coursed through my veins could have been pinned to a multitude of things, such as finally landing that highly coveted job at the movie theater, earning a halfway-decent midyear report card, and becoming an aunt to a beautiful baby named Alice, but in retrospect, it had mostly to do with this fuzzy but distinct premonition in my brain that something amazing would soon unfold.

Forward, forward, curve, curve: my legs propelled the bicycle along the path without any direction; they just somehow knew exactly where to go. I’d never traveled this route prior to then, so while my body surged deeper and deeper within the woods, my mind was blind to all sense of direction. Yet I never willed myself to halt and return to the familiarity of my neighborhood’s beloved Goodman’s Creek or the comforting busyness of the forest’s roadside outskirts. I was lured by an unspeakably powerful something- the problem was that this “something” was unknown to me at the time.

Forward, forward, curve, curve: my legs were aching and head was spinning. Suddenly I caught a glimpse of a grand, stunningly ornate house ahead to the right, exquisitely plagued with both abandonment and time’s wearing effects. Its neighbors were mere trees, but that wasn’t anything I’d ever complain about. Off of my bike immediately without any moment of fear or hesitation, I made a beeline straight to the rectangular hole that must have contained a door and peered into a house not truly empty but rather filled this eerie energy of endlessly preserved memories- everywhere, everywhere. But then those memories collided with the essence of me, purely, unmistakably me, in a mirror that hung above a grand piano with a crack straight down the middle. I faced the reflection head-on and the crack began to fuse together into an image that still ultimately bore a mightily heroic scar.

I realized that the most beautiful things are speckled with flaws, adorned with cracks, but then glossed over with a humble sense of confidence, gently thrumming a heartbeat that belongs not to any single person but to the universe in its mysterious entirety.

My body jolted to a disorienting start. I’d been sleeping. It was all a dream. The house was my past, the mirror was my present state of being, and the wooded path beyond the entrance was my sparkling, open-ended future.

"The Mark" by Adrenaline

The mark appeared five minutes ago. She was alone in her room, thankfully. She knew  that she was completely alone now. There was no one who she could trust. She put on a long  sleeve shirt to cover the mark, but it’s dark outline could still be seen under her thickest sweater.  She wrapped her arm in cloth, tried to apply makeup to it, nothing worked. She understood that  her time on earth was ending. 

Just that say she had gone to class. Laughed with her friends. Smiled in the hallway.  Worried about homework. “I’m only 15!” she thought, “I’m not supposed to die yet!” But the mark  on her arm was proof that she was wrong.

Years ago a horrifying creature descended to earth. He called himself the Grim Reaper.  He explained to the people of earth that there were too many people to manage anymore. If  they didn’t help him, then no one would die anymore, unless they were murdered. This sounded  good to the humans, at least until the Grim Reaper showed them what a future would be without  natural death. 

The overpopulated world would be made only of cities; no natural landmarks or history  memorial would be spared by the overbearing humans. Governments from every country would  desperately try to find a way to sustain the population uptake. They would try the hardest to  achieve life in space, but they would fail, and many many people would die in the process.  People would begin to starve in mass numbers, because the world cannot produce enough for  this amount of occupants. But death would not take them, because the grim reaper had made a  promise to not take their lives. There would be chaos. Pollution would be worse than ever with  factories trying to provide enough for everyone and the government having bigger problems to  deal with. The rain would turn to acid and the air would be poison. People would increasingly  want to die. The suicide­­self­murder­­ rate would skyrocket. 

The humans watched in horror at what the grim reaper had shown them. A future so  terrible, and they would be there to experience it. They begged the hideous creature to save  them. The creature had not come unprepared. He offered a solution. “When it is time for  someone to die, I will leave a mark on their arm. It will be able to be seen through any layer of  clothing, makeup, or tattoos. not even the removal of the skin will hide the mark. However, once  I place the mark on them, the other humans must kill them. It doesn’t matter if the person is a  world leader, a man of peace, a pop star, or a nobody. The person must be killed.” His last  words echoed as the world leaders who were called to make the deal stayed silent. The calm,  grumbly, but powerful voice started again. “Millions of people should be dead now. We are  wasting time. What is your decision?” “We will take the deal” stated the North Korean Dictator.  “As will we” said the president of the United States of America. The rest of the leaders  agreed too, never wanting their future to be that the Grim Reaper had just shown them. After the  last world leader agreed, the Grim Reaper was gone. 

Annabelle sat down and cried on her bed. How she loved her bed with the pink and  white checkered bed spread. The pictures she had taken lined her wall. A painting from when  she was in the first grade still hung, framed above her desk. She thought about  Julie, her best  friend, Sammie, her sister, Jacob, her crush. Annabelle thought about her mom and her dad,  and how much they loved her. She eventually realized that there was no other option. Now was  her time. She took a deep breath, and stepped out of her room.