The Writing Initiative
By Molly Daigle ’23
Are you creative? Enjoy writing? Like going on unique field trips? If so, then you’re in luck! The Bristol Central Writing Initiative offers it all! Directed by former BC English teacher, Mrs. Dickau, the program offers many unique and immersive opportunities for every student.
The Bristol Central Writing Initiative was founded in 2017 by BC alumni and ESPN sports analyst, Adrian Wojnarowski, in hopes of promoting and fostering students’ passions for writing, while offering students a variety of unique opportunities that wouldn’t normally be offered during a typical school day or field trip.
“Through writing workshops, guest speakers, writing contests, and field trips to museums, CT Forum lectures, college tours, and theater performances, students have been provided with a myriad of experiences that inspire, inform, and celebrate good writing. These programs range from conversations with Seth Myers; performances by YoYo Ma; lectures by Neil deGrasse Tyson; Broadway shows (To Kill a Mockingbird); guided tours of museums such as the Guggenheim, Wadsworth, Hill-Stead, Norman Rockwell, and Yogi Berra Baseball museums as well as the immersive ‘Beyond Van Gogh’ exhibit; and motivational speeches by ESPN personalities Chiney Ogwumike, Kevin Negandhi, and Adrian Wojnarowski.” -Mrs. Dickau
The Writing Initiative offers the chance to participate in numerous writing contests each year — one most notably is the recently concluded Letters About Literature Contest. The contest presents students with a prompt, asking for them to choose any work of writing — such as a novel, play, speech, or poem — and write a letter to the author, explaining how the piece has affected them. Every year, numerous outstanding pieces are submitted, and many of them end up winning prizes! Funded by Wojnarowski, students have the ability to earn monetary prizes for producing a well-written piece. As someone who has participated in this contest specifically for the past three years, I can truly say that it’s a great opportunity!
“Having the opportunity to be paid based on something you wrote is a rewarding and assuring experience because it reassures you that writing is not a waste of time.” -Mathew B.
The program also offers students the opportunity to attend numerous unique and exciting field trips. Last semester alone, the Writing Initiative provided students the opportunity to attend two field trips — one to visit the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit in Hartford, the other to attend an evening with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Bushnell Theater. Both of these trips were truly special experiences — ones that I will certainly never forget! The best part about attending trips with The Writing Initiative — they are free to attend! The only thing that attending students must do in order to go is simply to produce a piece of writing about the trip — any genre and about any part of the trip. That’s it! Similarly to the contests, the writing pieces produced from the trip are also judged, and top entries win prizes.
“Being able to go on field trips organized by The Writing Initiative has given me and many other students a ton of fantastic opportunities to do things that we never thought we’d be able to do. I specifically went on the Neil deGrasse Tyson field trip, and being able to go see him speak was an incredible experience that I will never forget.” -Ann D.
The Writing Initiative is honestly an amazing program to get involved in, especially early on. As someone who’s been participating since my sophomore year, I have been able to not only participate in numerous writing contests, field trips, and writing workshops, but I’ve been able to get to know the head of the program — Mrs. Dickau. She is someone who is truly and fully dedicated to running the program. Her passion for writing and her support has been immensely helpful for many — especially when it comes time for seniors to write their college essays. Despite having left BC as a teacher, Mrs. Dickau still dedicates her time, invested in helping students succeed and take the step toward college. Her assistance consists of a simple phone conference. The conferences are simple and relaxed, and you would hardly even realize that while you’re having what is seemingly a simple conversation, she’s conjuring up potential ideas, topics, and advice. Regardless of whether you are someone who knows exactly what they want to write about, or if you’re absolutely clueless, she helps you narrow it down by talking about the things that are meaningful in your life as well as your personal interests and goals. Her guidance was certainly a huge asset in the essays of many — including my own!
I advise — if you’re someone who enjoys writing and unique opportunities — to get involved! The BC Writing Initiative is truly an amazing program to get involved with, especially early on. Opportunities and potential experiences of a lifetime wait ahead — so get your creative mind going, put pen to paper, and get writing!