Winter weather interrupts Write Night

Published 4:25 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

Pelham High School senior tech guru Ashton Johnson sets up for Write Night, which was interrupted by winter weather on Feb. 6. (Contributed)

Pelham High School senior tech guru Ashton Johnson sets up for Write Night, which was interrupted by winter weather on Feb. 6. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“We have a problem,” PHS theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson said. She’d left the work that she and our students were slaving over transforming the auditorium for Write Night—due to begin in a few hours.

“We’re going home early — all afterschool events cancelled,” she said.

Students orchestrate Write Night planning. Stephenson is their conductor. I supervise public relations and paperwork. Students completely redesign the auditorium and lobby to construct a coffee-house comfort that encourages students to take creative risks.

Planning begins the day after Write Night—Write Night Recovery Day. Students review the event by creating written plans to improve every year.

In the fall, staffers call on businesses gathering enticing door prizes. They find food donations that highlight local cuisine thanks to generous local business owners who celebrate the creative arts.

Staffers create commercials to publicize Write Night. Over the past 10 years, they’ve created a Facebook page, “@write night” Twitter accounts and an Instagram. Students post pictures and share planning information.

We celebrate Write Night Eve. Arriving at Write Night Day, (even when we’ve lost a week’s planning to snowstorm supreme), feels like waking up on game day. Our students, staff and faculty arrive at school looking like teammates in their Write Night T-shirts. Excitement builds through the day.

When students started Write Night 10 years ago, they were stunned that their artistic event succeeded. Knowing how school events come and go, they insisted that Write Night would go on. The quote Literary Magazine staffers chose for their 10th anniversary Write Night shirt comes from those students, “Write Night—it will always go on.”

Although Write Night has been a winter event, we’ve avoided weather complications. A weather delay was disappointing—and dramatic. Moments behind Stephenson, counselor Kerry Barber and assistant principal Jamie Smith arrived eliciting the new Write Night date. We needed Write Night rescheduled before dismissal. Realizing the entire school’s investment in Write Night is uplifting.

“Write Night brings the school together,” junior Kaitlin Van Dorsten said in a Write Night commercial. Write Night goes on—a few days later—becoming even more treasured for the delay.