We are fortunate in the WSU English department to have some of the brightest, funniest, talented students. It’s always a pleasure to honor them at the aptly named English Honors Celebration – where we commemorate students’ scholarly and creative achievements. And I have been lucky enough to have many of these folks in my classes. So, I managed to record some of them with my handy digital camera.
Each year we have the Barbara Pilon Poetry Contest and the Kathleen Downey Short Fiction Contest, open to students from the entire campus. Not all those who took awards in these contests were present, so we have a photo of combined contest winners here. From right to left are Mary Schroth (Downey), Grace Cook (Downey), Noah Goldfarb (Downey and Pilon), and Melissa Dognazzi (Pilon). I have had the pleasure of having Mary in several of my courses. She is a bright student and a beautiful writer. Though I’ve never had Grace in class, I’ve seen her wonderful performance on stage in the college’s production of Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet.
The English Department also racked up points through the Commonwealth Honors Projects, with the first two awards going to Amy Angell (on the right) and Kayleigh Berger and Kasye Wazniak (left to right). Amy’s work was The Goodbyemoon—A Memoir of Loss, with Dr. Elizabeth Bidinger as her advisor. Kasey and Kayleigh’s was Introducing Elizabeth Bishop, Poetry, and Writing as a Process, with Dr. Heather Treseler as their advisor. Not knowing Amy well (though I’ve heard wonderful things about her!), I can’t speak to her project. Maybe one of my readers out there who knows the whole story can add a comment to this post! I do know that Kayleigh and Kasey did extensive, detailed research on Elizabeth Bishop’s background and writing processes, looking over actual records and manuscripts to create a paper and drawing on that research to create a lesson plan on writing and revision for their own future teaching as well as for other teachers.
Here is the crew of primo English Majors who are inducted into Sigma Tau Delta. Not everyone was present. I’m highlighting the names of those I’ve been lucky enough to have in class: Melissa Dognazzi, Molly Barrett, Caitlyn Brennan, Monica Valente, Sean Scannell, Lily Curtis, Kasey Wozniak, Danielle Grimaldi, Margarite Szezepanek, Anna-Lisa Norman, Heather Cameron, and Kayleigh Berger.
And here are just some shots of the students as their names are called out for induction. Please forgive the fuzziness. Between my having to jump up to get the picture and my not being able to avoid having the sun in front of me, some shots came out a bit fuzzy or a bit dark. I still think you can see these guys’ intelligence and genuineness shining through!
Here’s Lily Curtis, who braved Shakespeare and Witchcraft in Medieval and Renaissance Lit with me. A beautiful writer, a sharp wit, and a good kid.
Next is Kasey Wozniak. I always look forward to reading what she has to write, and her comments in class hit the nail right on the head. Students are going to be so lucky to have her for a teacher. Look at that beautiful smile!
So will be Kayleigh Berger’s students! She’s lively, bright, funny. I can still remember how energetic and excited she was when I had her in class freshman year for Creative Thinking and Critical Writing. And like Kasey and Lily, she’s a good kid, as my Mom would say. Both Kayleigh’s and Kasey’s guidance in the writing center has been invaluable to all my students that they’ve helped.
I don’t really know Danielle Grimaldi (picture 1) or Melissa Dognazzi (picture 2), but I’ve heard great things about them. I do know that Danielle is already writing news stories professionally. WSU English majors are accomplished! Again, any reader who know them, chime in and sing their praises!
Finally, Lily Curtis was sweet enough to want to take a picture with me! This girl even gave me a hug after the agony of taking a final for the class I team taught with MaryLynn Saul (I’m not taking that rap alone!). I’m so excited because she also want to write a paper for next year’s Undergraduate Shakespeare Conference!
We’re tremendously lucky to have students like these guys, and so many others. I know it sound corny, but these moments kind of make up for the agony of tracking down plagiarists, slogging through grading papers that make you want to cry out, “Lord, take me now!, or getting up to perform in the classroom when an assault by the flu has you dying to crawl into bed and sleep for a decade. I’m going to miss these guys who are graduating, but I’m happy that they have hopes and plans to carry them into a life that fulfills them.