Keynote speaker Jasmine Mans addresses students

Young writers explore their creativity at Saint John's

On Saturday, March 5, the 26th annual Worcester County Young Writers Conference welcomed 87 students for a day of writing.

Every spring, the Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers Conference brings together eager young writers from across the state to participate in writing workshops and listen to professional writers speak about their craft.

Twelve accomplished local writers served as mentors, each working with seven or eight students in small groups throughout the day. Mentors Heather Macpherson (poetry), SJ alum Tim Mudie (fiction), Don Unger (fiction), Rodger Martin (poetry). SJ alum/faculty member John Deedy (playwriting), and faculty member Russell McClintock (nonfiction) shared their work in mentor readings, and the Saint John’s Improv Society sent emissaries John Hayek, Jackson Genatossio, Brendan Padula, and Edmund Burke to perform some creative and entertaining improv games to inspire conference goers.

The day ended with an inspiring and encouraging keynote address by poet Jasmine Mans. Mans challenged students to believe in themselves, to pursue what they love, and to seize the opportunities afforded to them. “There is no blueprint for dreams,” she said, urging students to find their own paths. Mans also reminded them that in this world where technology is doing more and more work for us, “It is your creativity that will set you apart. Machines cannot replace your creativity.”

Many people worked hard to make this day a success, including faculty moderators Diane Mulligan, Katherine Guercio, and Michael Curran. Student volunteers Jordan Blackadar, Jon Hoey, Sean Doran, Zack Crowley, Connor Martin, Cristian Ramirez, Soo Young Kim, James Desmond, Edward Cui, Jonathan Lane and Carl Hughes helped to make the day a success! 

Several schools throughout Central Massachusetts — and one from Baltimore! — sponsored students to attend the conference. The teachers and administrators of those schools are really the ones who make this day a success. By taking the time out of their very busy days to tell their students about the conference, to encourage them to sign up, and to facilitate their registration and fees and transportation, they ensure the conference continues its mission to inspire young writers and encourage creativity. Without dedicated teachers to help spread the word and generous schools to provide funding for students, there is no conference.

This year, our students were joined by students from:
  • Lawrence High School
  • Algonquin Regional High School
  • Assabet Valley
  • Bancroft School
  • Burncoat High School
  • Florence Sawyer School
  • Forest Grove Middle School
  • Framingham High School
  • Gibbons Middle School
  • Grafton High School
  • Hawthorne Brook Middle
  • Lowell Catholic
  • Marlborough High School
  • Mountview Middle School
  • Mount St. Joseph’s (Baltimore, MD)
  • North Brookfield Jr/Sr High School
  • Quest Home School
  • St. Bernadette’s
  • Seven Hills Charter
  • Shepherd Hill Regional High School
  • Shrewsbury High School
  • Southbridge High School
  • St. Stephen’s
  • Sutten Middle School
  • The Sage School
  • Worcester Academy
Check out more photos from the 2016 Worcester County Young Writers Conference! Stay tuned for more pictures from the day's events.

Stay up to date with news, articles, and materials for young writers by following @WCYWC on Twitter.