Talent revealed at Write Night

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Josue Roman, along with the rest of his band, Sparetime, enjoys the final performance of Write Night 2016. (Contributed)

Josue Roman, along with the rest of his band, Sparetime, enjoys the final performance of Write Night 2016. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I’m still in awe. It was so good, real, sincere, loved,” said Dr. Barbara Regan of her first Write Night experience.

“I had no idea Hunter Manley could sing,” students commented. After having Manley in class all year, I discovered his secret while grading his assignment to create a video about his passion a few weeks earlier. At Write Night, everyone else discovered Manley’s musical talent.

Write Night, Pelham High School’s 12-year-old celebration of the arts, began as the brain child of my literary magazine students. We needed money to publish the magazine. We needed a great fundraiser.

My first lit mag students collaboratively created a mission statement. Every spring, the magazine prints this statement. “Our mission is to celebrate the artistry and creative diversity of Pelham High School students, and to provide a venue for the publication and distribution of their work.”

Lit mag’s mission statement is a directional compass—even fundraisers should reflect the magazine’s purpose. Write Night provides students who favor spoken word and musical performance that venue.

Casey Brooks, a once shy creative writing student turned Lit Mag Staffer, was a senior emcee at Write Night 2016 who also sang and played guitar. Brooks described Write Night as “radical.”

Radical defined is “affecting the fundamental nature.”

“I love how the students cheer for one another,” PHS art department chair Kim Harrison said, “—even when something goes wrong—they’re patient and kind.”

“They’re supportive of one another,” a parent said. “The atmosphere is magical.”

Perhaps that atmosphere is radical—the fundamental nature of PHS is different because kids respect one another’s talents and hard-work. The boy who rarely looked up, the girl who asked if she could be left alone to read and another student with incredible anxiety all signed up to perform at Write Night.

At PHS today, everyone knows that these kids roar on paper and sparkle on stage. Theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson coaches them. I read, review and marvel. The students prepare. Finally, talent is revealed. The unknown become known and respected. That is radical. That is Write Night.