When most people think about the rapport between high school sophomores and freshmen, they may not conceive it as protective or nurturing. But, the 10th graders of the Institute for Media and Writing at the Bayard Rustin Educational Complex are looking out for their 9th grade peers with the publication of their new SPI-sponsored book, Confessions of an Ex-Freshman: A Survival Guide for Freshmen by Sophomores Who Made It Through.
The book features eighteen chapters of student-chosen topics describing their experience during that intimidating first year of high school, ranging from “Staying Out of Trouble,” to “Making the Grade,” and “Gossip, Drama & Popularity.” With its universal themes, edgy design, and idiosyncratic writing style, the book rings with a sense of authenticity.
“We wanted the students to maintain their personalities throughout the pieces,” says Erin Quigley, SPI curriculum consultant and former teacher at the Institute.
In order to achieve this effect, the students spent a great deal of time focusing on voice in their writing.