WHITEWATER: November 15th twenty-two Étude High School students ventured from Sheboygan down to the University of Whitewater for the annual UW-Whitewater High School Creative Writing Festival.
For many years Étude has made the trip down to the university with the goal of participating in a greater writing community. The festival offers an opportunity for students from Wisconsin and Illinois to submit their work and be an audience to the work of others through six feedback sessions throughout the day. More than twenty schools and more than four-hundred students attended.
“It’s a lot of people with similar interests coming together, getting to know each other, and being a little uncomfortable reading allowed, sometimes the first time reading something to another person… I was excited to share something I was proud of,” stated junior Alexis Theune, who took home an honorable mention in the category of Multimedia with her "Chicken Out" Project.
“I want to go to this… because it seems like a really fun thing to do as a writer,” senior Caleb Klinzing exclaimed.
Over half the Étude attendees were newcomers, including Klinzing. He, along fellow senior Destiny Montemayor, received first place for their work “Far From the Place” in the Song Lyrics category. Many others including a group of three freshmen, four dancers, and another senior enjoyed their first visit, bring new voices to sessions to which they went.
The feedback portion was the focal point of the day. “Being around people that could give me feedback on my writing was really nice… they knew what they were talking about,” shared freshman Amber Knaub. “The [facilitator] gave me an entire page of feedback of what I should change and what I should keep.”
“I was nervous, all the college kids are gonna freak me out, I’m gonna get lost… after awhile I got used to it, I understood…” Knaub also claimed.
While awards may not be the focus of the day, Étude has had a strong history of taking home victories with this year being no exception.
Sara Barol - Honorable Mention in Poetry
Casey Jordi - 1st Place in Poetry
Caleb Klenzing and Destiny Montemayor - 1st Place in Song Lyrics
Jackson Kloes - 3rd Place in Humor
Alexis Theune - Honorable Mention in Multimedia
Many of the festival’s Étude attendees participated in Whitewater Open Mic Fundraiser in October of this year. The event saw students and community members from around Sheboygan sharing their work, poetry, prose, dramatic readings, and music. Raising over $100 to subsidize the cost of registration of the festival, Sheboygan has not seen its last of Étude’s creative minds raising funds.
“I don’t get the chance to share my work [in public],” said Knaub in regards to the opportunities that the fundraiser offered to her.
Every year students are able to walk away from the festival with a new perspective on writing and a writing community.
“It’s okay to submit something that your not one-hundred okay with… It’s a really good experience to get your writing out there... people you don’t know… get the college experience because it can be a scary… place... Go to Whitewater,” Thuene stated.
Etude students travel to colleges across the state throughout the year none of those tours events fully immerse students in the college campus experience. Being on the UW-Whitewater campus provided students the opportunity to explore a college campus and interact with college students.
Photography by Étude Studios Videography Intern, Veronica Williams.