Kansas City, February 10, 2020: Taylor Snider knows that the flame of creativity is lit from within, but often needs the oxygen of external validation in order to grow.
Mr. Snider teaches English at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. Recently, he learned that five of his students are going to be honored for their work at the upcoming Missouri Writing Region Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. The award winners include senior India Walker and sophomores Naomi Kriege, Kate Kemnitzer, Eva Parsons and Luke Davis.
This achievement is the kind of thing that can propel students forward as they struggle to find their voice as artists, Snider said.
“It’s true that the spark to be a writer comes from an internal ignition,” he said. “But these types of recognitions and awards really can serve as a kind of bellows that feeds the flame.”
The student pieces include two prose-poems, a one-act play, a fantasy story and science fiction. They include a wide range of perspectives and objectives, from the overtly political and concrete to the more metaphorical and esoteric.
Ms. Kriege described her prose-poem as an extended metaphor that compares the cycle of life with the cycles of a classical concerto, with a slower middle movement buttressed between more energetic first and third sections.
“When you’re a teenager, it feels crazy,” she said. “It’s like, ‘how many 16th-notes can you manage to play in one measure.”
The student-written pieces all share a common element of being honest and unique, showcasing the variety of voices that each writer is starting to develop. It’s that process of finding a way to express themselves that drives the students to create, according to Ms. Kemnitzer. She credits her teachers for nurturing that impulse and raw talent.
“In fifth grade, I had a teacher who took the time to edit some of the stories that I wrote. I know now that they were really terrible, but if he hadn’t taken the time to do that work for me then, I wouldn’t be writing today,” she said. “I’m very happy and thankful to have that voice.”
The Missouri Writing Region is the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards organization for schools in Missouri and in the Kansas City, Kansas region. It’s sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Writing Project at the University of Central Missouri, the Missouri Writing Projects Network, and the Missouri Council of Teachers of English. The awards ceremony will be Feb. 28 in Osage Beach, Mo.