On Thursday, April 25, the fourth annual Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership concluded with a celebratory publishing party. Chapman faculty, Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School teachers and administrators, Yorba journalists and their families, and Chapman University student mentors from the IES (Integrated Educational Studies) 412 Teaching Writing K-12 course were all in attendance to celebrate a semester of hard work and meaningful collaboration.
The event opened with a message of thanks and congratulations from the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Attallah College of Educational Studies, Michelle Samura, Ph.D. Noah Asher Golden, Ph.D., Attallah assistant professor and facilitator of the Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership, praised the mutually beneficial nature of the partnership in providing Chapman students an opportunity to work directly with students and affording the Yorba journalists the privilege of completing real journalistic work for a real audience.
“I am so proud and so impressed by the quality of work this year,” Dr. Golden said.
The afternoon continued with remarks by two keynotes speakers: Steve Goodman of the Educational Video Center and Educational Video Center graduate Raelene Holmes-Andrews.
Goodman assured the young journalists in the audience, “We desperately need to hear your voices because your voices give us fresh perspectives, a sense of honesty, and a sense of justice that is lacking in public discourse today, your work is a gift.”
Holmes-Andrews shared her experience as a student at the Educational Video Center. She created a documentary film about the practice of stop and frisk enacted by the New York City Police Department. Holmes-Andrews shared that, throughout her time at the Educational Video Center, she found herself “becoming an activist.” As she continued to grow as both an individual and an artist and journalist, Holmes-Andrews realized, “I want to fight for my community. I want to fight for what’s right.” The experiences that assisted her in finding her voice and providing her with a means to express it have helped her accomplish just that.
Following the messages of encouragement from the keynote speakers, Yorba journalists were invited to share selections from their articles and the critical media projects that accompanied them. Students read from a variety of news, feature, and editorial articles about topics ranging from homelessness to animal agriculture to the impacts of video games on cognitive health.
One Yorba journalist reflected upon her experience collaborating with her peers and Chapman mentors: “I like how our group came together and helped each other finish,” she said. “We worked together to finish and now I’m excited to read.”
Another shared that he felt nostalgic and already missed the daily visits from his Chapman mentors.
While the Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership greatly impacts the educational experiences of the young journalists involved, the Chapman mentors also felt pride for their students’ work and their teaching abilities.
Mitchell Chen, a junior political science major, beamed as he exclaimed, “I feel immensely proud of my students and what they’ve accomplished over the past few months.”
Writing project coordinator and junior IES major Katelyn Carbajal chimed in, “It was so powerful seeing the students read what I’ve been witnessing them write during the project. I am so proud of their passion for journalism and their growth as writers.”
As the afternoon came to a close, Dr. Noah Golden returned to the podium to thank those involved with the project, both at Chapman and Yorba. Dr. Golden concluded by reinforcing Goodman’s sentiment, emphasizing that “writing is about doing something in the world.” The Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership allows students to write about the issues that directly impact their school and community, encouraging them to become advocates and change-makers.
The celebration continued into the weekend as the Chapman mentors accompanied Dr. Noah Golden in presenting at the fourth annual Education and Ethnic Studies Summit on Saturday. During their presentation entitled, “Critical Media Projects in Motion: Analysis of Controversial Issues through New Literacies and Multimodal Production,” the Chapman mentors explained the process of creating and the content included in their students’ digital media projects, which were completed throughout the Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership.
Junior history major Isabelle Arriaga said that “attending the summit was a very empowering experience.” She was able to learn about strategies to help implement a critical media approach.
“I left excited and eager to learn more!” Arriaga said.
The Yorba-Chapman Writing Partnership is made possible by the generous support of the Lloyd & Elisabeth Klein Legacy Foundation and Christine and Lon Cross.