Encouraging our students to write by Jane Goddard

CGSC Anthology 2012 Cover smlWe love to celebrate the words our students write at Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College.  As teachers, you know how fabulous it is when a student crafts a piece of writing that makes you laugh out loud, subtly hints at a greater truth about life, lingers in your mind because of its eloquence, or powerfully evokes your senses because of a masterful grafting of words and sentences.

CGSC has been celebrating the outstanding writing of our students in Years 7 through to 12 in the form of a published anthology for the past five years.  The 2012 showcase of student work, ‘Canterbury Quills: Landscapes and Lyricism’, was revealed to the wider school community at an evening launch at the school in December last year.  The guest speaker, acclaimed Australian author, Jane Godwin, had her young audience enthralled with her personal journey as a writer and publisher.   The students were excited and proud to have Jane sign the copy of ‘Canterbury Quills: Landscapes and Lyricism’, which they were individually presented at the launch.

Penguin’s generous sponsorship of our evening launch, makes such a school-based venture as the professional publication of students’ writing possible.  So too, does the support of the immediate and wider school community, including the Principal, staff and the Parents’ Association.

I put my hand up to coordinate the work in 2012 and found it a highly inspiring and rewarding experience.  Early in Term Two we ran a themed writing competition for students in years 7 through to 12.  The competition encouraged students to enter pieces of prose and poetry they had crafted in the past twelve months.  With over two hundred entries, it was clear that the writing competition was a hit.

These entries were then judged by the Anthology Editorial Committee, which is comprised of budding editors from across the year levels and a handful of teachers.  The girls spent many a lunchtime discerning the winners and it was fabulous to see their passion for creative writing.

Teachers continued to email and drop on my desk outstanding pieces of student writing throughout the year and, as I recall, they were still being dropped whilst we were well under way with the publication of the 2012 Anthology. We are blessed to have one of the parents donate her skills and time as a graphic design artist and typesetter put together the Anthology.

96 pages in length, containing the work of 64 budding young writers and graced with incredible student artwork, this year’s Anthology is a joy to behold… and I hope to see it taken ‘off the shelf’ on many occasions in the library by students who want to be inspired by their peers or feel a sense of pride at seeing their work alongside that of other published Australian authors.

Jane Goddard teaches English, History and Geography at Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College.  She loves her role as a classroom teacher and is passionate about learning being dynamic and meaningful for students. Between teaching roles in Victoria and NSW, Jane has also enjoyed creating educational resources for the Sydney Morning Herald, World Vision and Curriculum Coorporation.

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