HIGH POINT, N.C., April 24, 2019 – Local schoolchildren from two Washington Street afterschool programs that partner with High Point University’s Bonner Leader program will share poetry during an event open to the public. The Poetry Project Showcase will be held at 5 p.m. on April 30 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in High Point.
At the showcase, children will perform original poetry written at Poetry Project workshops in partnership with the Community Writing Center and PNAC. HPU junior Douglas McCollum and Katherine Malet from the Poetry Project will also perform along with the students.
“This is a great opportunity for community members to see the work that is being done on Washington Street and also get an idea of how important these programs are to supplementing what students learn in the classroom,” says McCollum, a strategic communication major from High Point. “Encouraging the importance of voice in the High Point community, as well as with our youth, has become something of importance in the last three years I’ve been at High Point University.”
A spoken word poet himself, McCollum has mentored and tutored children at the Community Writing Center as an HPU Bonner Leader. Last year, he was a recipient of a Newman Civic Fellows award for his work in the community.
The Community Writing Center, a partnership between HPU and Mt. Zion, is an afterschool program that engages children in reading and writing projects. HPU Bonner Leaders and students from service learning classes work closely with the children through creative writing practices, interactive exercises and homework assistance. PNAC (Physical Activity, Nutrition, Academics, Character Development) is an afterschool recreational enrichment program for children on Washington Street also served by HPU students.
“We were very excited when Douglas suggested the idea of bringing the Poetry Project to Washington Street through a collaboration between the Community Writing Center and PNAC,” says Dr. Cara Kozma, associate professor of English and co-director of the Community Writing Center. “We were looking for a way to engage our middle school students in an innovative semester-long writing project, and this provided the perfect opportunity. The culminating poetry showcase event gives us the chance to invite the public to the CWC to see the creative work that students produce through our program.”