Both as a teacher and a writer, I have experienced firsthand the power of publishing student work. Submitting a written or artistic composition to a contest or publication can be fraught with all kinds of anxiety. Sending off a poem or an essay to an open call for submissions takes a great deal of courage as you hit “send” and fire off the email into the void of the Internet. The reward for this risk can be transformative, as seeing your name in print or hearing feedback from someone who liked your work creates a rush of emotions, endorphins, and self-confidence. For adolescents to share their voice and creativity can help them develop their own sense of self, vision, and purpose.
I wanted to offer the students at Fusion Global Academy the chance to experience this same risk and reward. During my first year, I attended Open-Mic Lunches held in the Global Homework Café, and the creativity, talent, and bravery of the students blew me away. During my second year, I sponsored a Creative Writing Club, which met monthly to encourage students to experiment and share their writing. Having some experience advising a student literary magazine, I attempted to engage students to develop their love of writing into the world of student publishing. While the interest was there, the timing was not, as clubs began to wind down in February.
In March, I proposed to my ELA Assistant Director that we create a blog to publish student literature and artwork, The Fusion Review . Students submit their own creative writing and artwork for consideration, and after an initial review, we publish it on the website. Lyric poetry, creative nonfiction, short stories, and haikus have found their way too; even a few pieces from teachers have appeared as well. As one teacher wrote to me, she wanted to “model what I am asking my students to do,” and she took that creative risk to submit her work for consideration.
We have maintained the blog throughout the summer, and it serves as a tremendous record of the creativity and courage of our students who strive to find their voice, express themselves, and define themselves through their work. I hope that we may yet see this blog grow into a student-led publication with student editors and designers, but that is an opportunity for another school year.