Writing Gallery

This is what we are all about! We are so very happy to share with you some of the best student writing from workshops, field trips, and tutoring sessions at 826 centers across the country. We also accept submissions by any students age 6-18. All writing can be emailed to submissions [at] 826national.org for consideration. Read on and enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Be Honest, And Other Advice from Students Across the Country

In Be Honest, And Other Advice from Students Across the Country, 826 students shared their insight on what's going on in American schools and what makes a good teacher. This unique anthology was edited by 826 co-founder Nínive Calegari and includes a foreword by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Neko Case. But the stars of the book are the students. Their essays, poems, and letters give a unique perspective on what the classroom looks like from the other side of the desk. Below you will fine one student piece from each of the five sections of the book, and if you like what you read you can order your own copy today from the 826 National store!


Section: "Thanks for Teaching Me How to Steer," Letters to Educators

You Interrupted My Dinner
By Julia Peck, age 16, Washington DC

Dear Mr. Hughes,

You started changing my life the night you interrupted my dinner in 2006. It wasn't any fault of yours, actually. My dad had spent the day observing classes at Deal Junior High School, and he set down his fork to make an announcement. "Today, I saw the best English class I'd probably ever seen in my life," he said. My ears perked up. Read the entire piece...


"Bobbing When I Should Have Weaved," Vignettes Inspired By Sherman Alexie

Public Schools in San Francisco
By Jessica Barrog, age 17, San Francisco

Never Trust a Talking Giraffe
I remember erasing all the R's that I spent an entire Rugrats episode carefully crafting. I wrote them all backwards. Thanks a lot, Toys 'R' Us. Never trust a talking giraffe. I stuck my lips through the holes where the paper had thinned and blew raspberries at Derek, the cootie-infested boy sitting across from me. He stuck his pencil in my mouth the third—and last—time I did it. Read the entire piece...

* * *

"Going for Broke," Essays Inspired by James Baldwin

The Story of My Life
By Saif Ghanem, age 17, Ann Arbor

Seventh grade in Iraq was the year that changed my whole life. I grew from a kid to a young man who knew what he wanted and could take care of himself. I have some good memories and some bad ones from this grade. A good memory was when the teacher didn't come to class or was late, so we left class and played soccer. I met a lot of friends and had so much fun with them. A bad memory was when we were at lunch, playing soccer in a large field, and we heard some loud sounds coming near us and getting louder and louder. Read the entire piece...

* * *

"Help Us Help Ourselves," Essays Explaining What Schools Would Look Like If These Students Ran Them

Making Mistakes and Learning
By Brian Curcio, age 15, Chicago

Life is about second chances, about making mistakes and learning. In first grade, if we got a problem wrong, the teacher would correct it. A fight on the playground would result in a time-out. People didn't look at us on a piece of paper but instead saw who we really were. Not anymore. Now, in high school, it feels to me as though teachers only care about the letters next to your name and your transcript. Once those are tainted, it seems as if you're dead to them. Why can't the world look past the sheets of black and white? Past the small characters that decide it all? Read the entire piece...

* * *

"Tomorrow's Leaders," Speeches in the Voices of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama, or the Students Themselves

For All
By Marlin Quintanilla, age 17, San Francisco

Starting before integration
Before education was meant for all
The time of Brown vs. Board
Until today
I haven't seen much change

Yes, they let us browns into schools
But the quality of education isn't the same
Read the entire piece...


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