For three years, Dr. Noah Asher Golden’s IES (Integrated Educational Studies) 412 class has collaborated with a local middle school, Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School, in a project that encourages youth-led journalistic writing. The fourth year of the successful Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership is now underway. Last week, the project kicked off with a new team of Chapman student mentors, project coordinators, and young Yorba journalists.

LA Times speaking to Yorba middle school students and Chapman mentors

LA Times journalists speaking to Yorba middle school students and Chapman mentors

LA Times Visit

Thanks to the planning of Dr. Golden, Principal Tracy Knibb, teachers Kori Shelton and Andrea Lopez, and the Chapman student co-coordinators, Chapman junior Katelyn Carbajal and myself, the kick-off included two guest speakers: Paloma Esquivel and Tom Curwen from the Los Angeles Times. The two journalists spoke with the Yorba students and Chapman mentors about writing and journalism. The students’ questions ranged from “What inspired you to write?” to “What was the hardest article you’ve written?”

Together, Esquivel and Curwen explored these inquiries, detailing their stories of how they started writing and what they enjoy writing about. The Yorba students intently listened to the journalists and were eager to come up with their own topics to write about, whether it be through a front page news article, an editorial, or a feature story.

Regarding the visit, one of the students said, “The journalists make writing seem really cool and worth it.”

Yorba students and Chapman mentors

Yorba students and Chapman mentors at the 2019 Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership kickoff

Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership

The Chapman mentors and the Yorba scholars are excited and ready to start their articles. Katelyn Carbajal, working as part Chapman mentor and part co-coordinator, said she is “especially looking forward to seeing their work get published at the very end!”

One of the Yorba journalists also expresses excitement: “I feel like I can write something that I want to write instead of just answering essay prompts.”

Within the next few months, the students and the Chapman mentors will work closely together in groups to write articles and create multimodal projects that highlight the concerns, issues, and ideas of the Yorba scholars.  Through this hands-on experience, the Chapman mentors will learn about “the teaching of writing” in a meaningful, authentic, and powerful way that promotes the agency of today’s youth.

The Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership is made possible by the generous support of the Lloyd & Elisabeth Klein Legacy Foundation and Christine and Lon Cross.