Slideshow: Authors speak at school-wide festival

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Caroline Fellows
Web/Video Editor

Photos by Cole Schnell

All Write Festival was Feb. 22-26, and for its second year it brought authors, comedians and songwriters to speak at the high school.

According to English teacher Steve Leftridge, about 17-18 writers presented at the three-and-a-half day festival last year. This year there was a snow day on Wednesday, shortening the festival from its planned schedule of five days to four days. Most of the assemblies were able to be rescheduled except for the UrbSLAM.

In reference to authors booked for the event, Leftridge said, “We took some chances this year and reached after some people who we did not think we’d be able to get.”

Among the headliners scheduled this year were U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, and comedian Sara Schaefer. However, for personal reasons, McCaskill and Shabazz both canceled.

Before this happened, Leftridge said of McCaskill, “Having a sitting U.S. Senator is a big deal, and she doesn’t do a lot of business like this at high schools.”

Even though she didn’t attend last week, Shabazz will reschedule to come sometime in March.
Of Shabazz, Leftridge said, “She a motivational speaker, she’s a best-selling writer, a human rights activist.”

This year the social justice and multiculturalism theme was present throughout the event.

“Given the fact that there’s been so much going on in the St. Louis area with race, we thought it would be a good time to bring in some people to talk about racial and social justice and multiculturalism,” Leftridge said.

Comedian Sara Schaefer entertained the school Tuesday in Roberts Gym with her stand-up comedy.

“She’s hilarious and one of the real up and coming stand-up comedian stars in America, so it’s a potentially history-making event [that Sara Schaefer came],” Leftridge said.

This year students were able to attend up to three extra presentations, allowing students to see an author or attend a workshop that their teachers didn’t sign the up for.

The festivities during school hours were closed to the public, but parents and the community could attend All Write at Night on Tuesday. Two authors, Kevin Killeen and Jean Ellen Whatley, spoke about their careers in addition to music performances and a showcase of the student artists.

The student writing contest winners and the student art contest winners were both announced Friday. Senior Samuel Leach won the Jonathan Franzen Award for Excellence in Student Writing and freshman Allyson Peters won the Art Write Prize.


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