Writing center returns with a new name and a new staff


Spencer Kimball

The former writing center is in room 247D. Currently it is not known where the new writers room will be located. The writers room is being sponsored by the Mid-continent Oceanographic Institute (MOI). South was provided the funding for the writers room from the Grave’s Foundation.

Spencer Kimball, Staff Writer

Starting next school year, the Writing Center will be making its return. The last time South had a fully staffed writing center was two years ago. The Writing Center was the hit with budget cuts the last few years, and so last year it became student staffed, before fully closing this year.

The Writing Center is being renamed to the Writer’s Room, and is funded through a local non-profit called the Mid-continent Oceanographic Institute (MOI). The MOI is currently located in St. Paul, but is moving to Minneapolis. Executive Director Samantha Sencer-Mura, graduated from South in 2007. She was very involved with getting the funding for South’s new Writer’s Room, and it is the organization’s pilot project.

English teacher Corinth Matera was involved with the Writing Center: “I was the coordinator [and] the first year I did pretty much everything. I organized the trainings, I supervised all the student staff and I was in the Writing Center all day long.”

Now with this new Writer’s Room, Matera will be spending one hour a day as a faculty adviser.

English teacher Elizabeth Johnson also has had involvement in the Writer’s Center. Johnson would spend two hours of her day at the Writing Center: “I would help kids get signed in, and look at what they are working on. If there were student coaches in there, which there were fairly often, I would help them get situated with their student coach.”

Senior Oliver Elias used the Writing Center back when it was staffed, and used it because his teacher required that all students used it.

There were concerns about bringing back a writing center. One of these concerns was that it won’t feel inclusive to students who are a part of All Nations, a program at South that focuses on Native American education. Matera explained that to combat this worry, the All Nations ninth grade classes will be doing a project where they will turn their creative writing into a book. This will be possible because the new Writer’s Room will have a binding machine, which will allow South to publish books.

Elias feels that some students didn’t use the Writing Center because, “they didn’t know about it or didn’t know the benefits towards it.”

During her time in the Writing Center, Matera noticed that there was a rush of seniors seeking writing help for their college and scholarship essays.

South was awarded a grant of $25,000 through the Grave’s Foundation to relaunch the center, explained Sencer-Mura. This grant includes the Americorps volunteers who will be working inside the Writer’s Room, along with other members of MOI, explained MOI Board Chair member Kathy Thomforde over email .

Americorps is a network of national service programs according to the official website.They take the approach of improving lives and fostering civil engagement.

The Writer’s Room will be staffed with one English teacher every hour, and will also have an Americorp Volunteers in Service to America volunteer Monday through Thursday.