The Episcopal Writing Center is a special place. Fellows form lifelong bonds. In keeping with tradition, this year’s underclassmen wrote Senior Tributes highlighting the graduating fellows and the impact they’ve had on the program.
George Washington University
Major: Political Science
Having dedicated her time and effort to the helping others in the Episcopal Writing Center, Erin Alpandinar is always there to greet students with a smile. Erin was inspired to become a Writing Fellow during sophomore year because she enjoys helping others become more confident in their writing skills. Erin’s motivations as a Writing Fellow are very admirable, and any students who have worked with her are surely grateful for her dedication and her goal to help writers gain confidence in writing. Her favorite papers to work on with students are research papers and papers for history classes. In addition to her flexibility to work with different types of papers, Erin’s strengths lie in her ability to organize and help students find a major claim so that they can successfully plant it throughout the paper. Erin’s experience as a Writing Fellow has given her many valuable opportunities, and among these, she has been able to make unexpected friendships and develop skills that she will use in her future. These skills will not only enhance her writing, but also her ability to communicate, reflect, and tutor. During her time as a writing fellow, some of Erin’s best memories come from the retreat days that happen every year in August that combine all the new Writing Fellows and returning ones. At these annual gatherings, she has been able to hang out with the other returning Writing Fellows, and also make connections with the new Fellows. When asked what advice she would give to new writing fellows or students who are thinking about applying to the Writing Center, she said: “Don’t be intimidated if you are tutoring someone older than you, and utilize the space because it is cozy and good for studying, even if you are not a Writing Fellow.”
Erin, we appreciate your contributions to the Writing Center and all of your devotion and time spent helping students develop lifelong writing skills.
--by Maia Adams
Texas A&M University
Major: Mechanical Engineering/MBA
Originally, Charles Barksdale joined the Writing Fellows program in order to emulate the success his sister Mary Beth had in the Writing Center during her high school career. Nonetheless, as Charles discusses in his thesis entitled The Argument for Taking Risks: A New Approach to Adolescent Risk-Taking, practicing taking healthy risks is beneficial to the teen mind, and becoming a fellow certainly is a nerve-racking risk, one that pushes its members’ boundaries socially and academically. However, as time progressed, Charles became comfortable with being a Fellow and excelled in advancing the outreach that the Writing Center has to date.
Unconventional compared to most Fellows, Charles spent most of his writing journey at Episcopal outside of the actual Writing Center, gaining experience in ways outside of formal appointments. As a member at large of the football team, Charles spread his knowledge of and enthusiasm for writing to fellow team members. Eventually, after becoming a Fellow, Charles was booked consistently throughout the years by freshmen football players who were otherwise hesitant to make appointments in the Writing Center with other students.
As for future Writing Fellows, Charles recommends that they strive to be comfortable in themselves: it will make both them and the people they tutor feel like they gained viable information from their appointments. Additionally, Fellows should not be afraid to take on a piece of writing that is in a genre they don’t come into contact with frequently. Charles admires the fact that the Writing Center welcomes just about any type of writing.
-- By Mason LaFerney
Louisiana State University - Honors College
Morgan Bernard is exemplary of the Writing Fellow program to everyone around her. Even on her worst day, she could still devote time, care, and attention to every tutoring opportunity, while also maintaining a strong academic work ethic. For several years, students could always find her in the Writing Center, doing homework on the couch, talking to friends, or helping a student. She was good at her work because she believed that writing brought out the best in her and she wanted to share that with other people. Morgan especially liked to revise creative writing projects and argumentative essays. She was always incredibly calm with her clients and made sure they felt in control. Morgan was aware of her responsibilities as a Writing Fellow and made sure that she wasn’t concerned with the final grade that any paper received but rather with the progress the writer showed. The skill that Morgan displayed also benefitted her by making her better able to explain writing concepts and techniques. She was also a very organized fellow. Her most distinct memory, in fact, was a conversation between Alyssa Macaluso, Hallie Sternberg, Mrs. Spaht, and her about which planners are best and why. Morgan’s skill at her work and her enjoyment at its completion strongly reinforced her commitment to the position. Though being a Fellow is a lot of work, Morgan advises people who are familiar with its challenges to try it. She always believes that her job was rewarding and thinks that others will feel the same as long as they take the job seriously.
Thank you for being a part of the writing community at Episcopal. You made a lasting impact on the quality of writing at our school.
-- By Thomas Hugenroth
Louisiana State University
Nearing the end of her freshman year, Elizabeth Kharoba pondered whether to become a Writing Fellow. She had always loved to help others improve themselves, and wanted to improve her writing, as well. The decision was an easy one, and she has been a Writing Fellow ever since. She assisted her peers with their writing assignments, and especially loved working with creative writing or literary analyses. She worked best at helping with thought organization and idea development, and ensuring that clients felt welcomed and comfortable. All throughout high school, she developed friendships with her clients and other Writing Fellows, and enhanced her people skills along the way. The Writing Center opened many doors for her, providing a comfortable place, new friends to mingle with, and the ability to learn more about herself. This year, Elizabeth loved tutoring the seventh graders with short stories and getting a chance to see all the potential talent the Upper School can look forward to while preparing these students for high school level writing. She is hopeful that this early introduction to the Writing Center will inspire some of them to seek information about how it works and apply to be Fellows themselves, just as she inspired me. I remember talking to Elizabeth at cheer practice for advice on becoming a Fellow. I was scared that I would not be a good tutor or would not get the position. She told me, “Just do it, I know you can!”, and proceeded to describe all about her experiences and encounters there. She likewise faced a fear of applying, but has since had no regrets of proceeding with the process.
I am so thankful to you, Elizabeth, for pushing me to believe in myself. Thank you for helping me through it all. Thank you for your varied contributions. Thank you for being a Writing Fellow, for being yourself, and for being my friend.
-- By Sarah Collier