After four years of Writing in the Schools at Shortridge, we’ve taken our program to Broad Ripple Magnet School this fall, but so much feels familiar. You might have gleamed this from the photo above from one of our Open Mic sessions in September. The smiles have carried over. So has the classroom setting: once again, we’ve set up shop in a science lab. Remnants everywhere of experimentation and chemistry—it suits us nicely. The enthusiasm of our young poets and storytellers has remained a constant (I’m pretty sure we’ve already heard the greatest song about Ramen noodles ever vocalized). As has the support of Butler University, and the mentors who make our program a success one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time.
What’s new? You might notice the uniform polos are orange instead of royal blue. Seems very fitting for the fall. And of course, the students, our writers. We met a few of them during our spring pilot sessions, but there have been so many new faces that we’re still learning names. Lest you think we’re slacking or that perhaps my memory isn’t quite what it was, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. During our first four weeks at Broad Ripple, we’ve served 101 unique students (including a spirited young poet named Eunique). This is a remarkable number. One that validates our mission and vision as writers and mentors at this school. We here to support students, first and foremost. So there was no greater return than seeing 54(!) Rockets walk into our room on our first day. Sure, it was hectic. And loud. It ended with two separate Open Mic readings and a deep exhale from our first-time mentors. Our attendance since then has been consistent: 49 students, 42, 39, 39, 32, 32. We’re happy to do more. We wanted to see how WITS would fit at a school with an even bigger student body than Shortridge.
It’s working. Yes, we’re still getting used to the cavernous building and the logic behind all lettered and numbered wings. We’ve gotten lost a few times on our way to the auditorium or the restrooms. But all that really matters is that the students of Broad Ripple know where to find us: Room B367. And that our new space already feels like home.