On Thursday April 26 students from Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School visited Chapman to celebrate their accomplishments in this year’s Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership. The Publishing Party welcomed not just Yorba students but their families and friends, Yorba teachers and administrators, and Chapman Integrated Educational Studies (IES) students and faculty. All attendees were given a printed copy of this year’s anthology book, which includes the articles written by both the Yorba and Chapman students.
As part of the celebration, Yorba students had the opportunity to read their articles out loud for the audience. Writing Project Coordinator Sandra Loredo discussed why this is important.
“For me this demonstrates the overall purpose of the writing partnership, we want to encourage our students to use their voice and write about something they are passionate about,” she said. “Through this, not only do they improve on their writing skills, but also learn how to be agents for change.”
Students spoke about topics ranging from gender inequality to cyberbullying. Many students chose to share editorial articles, which gave them the opportunity to voice their opinions about important social issues. Yorba science teacher Nicholas Sepulveda commented on how this has affected their growth as students beyond the writing project.
“I have noticed that the students are more confident in their opinions as well as their writing, backing ideas with relevant and strong resources” Sepulveda said. “This process really demonstrated how small pieces of work daily can lead to a culmination of amazing ideas that have a purpose and a student voice behind them.”
He also commended the Chapman students for their efforts. “Because of the amazing structure, reinforcement, and patience the Chapman mentors have demonstrated, I have seen great strides in the areas of dedication, brainstorming, and self-worth” Sepulveda said.
After the articles were shared, students also had the opportunity to present their critical media projects. One student made a video where they interviewed their peers and teachers at Yorba about their opinions on school dress code. Another student created an animation with all original digital art to show how global warming is making chocolate go extinct.
Dr. Noah Golden, the professor leading this partnership, concluded the event by thanking those who made the project possible. He gave a special shout-out the partnership’s sponsors the Lloyd E. and Elisabeth H. Klein Family Foundation and Christine and Lon Cross. Yorba teachers Andrea Lopez, Kori Shelton, and Nicholas Sepulveda as well as Yorba principal Tracy Knibb were all recognized and given tokens of appreciation. Finally, Yorba students were awarded with medals for their participation.
Principal Tracy Knibb spoke about the overall benefits and impact this program had: “As a principal, when the local community partners with us to advance the academic achievement of our students, the results are a stronger future. The takeaway from this collaborative experience is that it truly takes a village to help foster an environment where students can find their own voice,” she said. “In the challenges we face today as a global society, having our young people not just speak, but truly advocate, shows that the future remains bright!”
“Parents and family members are elated to see their child blossom and find power in the words they write,” Principal Knibb went on. “Having this experience specifically with Chapman, shows the citizens of Orange that Chapman is not just a university, but their university and students can dare to dream!”
Talia Cain ’19 is a Chapman undergraduate majoring in IES and English Literature. She founded the Chapman organization Student Alliance for Prison Reform and is passionate about issues relating to educational equity and social justice. She has presented research at the National and Western Regional Honors Conference and is currently exploring how school disciplinary procedures impact students differently by race, class, and gender. After Chapman, she plans to attend graduate school and continue researching ways classrooms can disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a career in teaching high school English.