An influential high school creative writing program is in jeopardy.
Let me break it down here.
The high school I went to in northern Virginia hosted a program called the Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA). There were different concentrations students would apply to be in to pursue intensive studies in: theatre, visual arts, dance, music technology (in my day it was TV productions), instrumental music, vocal music, and creative writing.
I was a part of the creative writing program. That meant that for all four years of high school, all of my available electives went to creative writing classes, focusing on the basics, to publication, to short stories, scripts, poetry, and nonfiction.
This program was instrumental in developing who I am as a person and the things I have done since then. I have always loved to read, but it was that program that I learned the love to write. It was because of that program that I maintained a GPA sufficient to get into college, led to a great job during my college years, which arguably has led to the jobs I’ve had post-grad.
I was not the only person to have reaped such great benefits from this program. The list is too long to get into, but each of us that were in that program was moved to different heights. For some it was the very thing that kept them in school, for others it illuminated different career paths.
Specifically, with creative writing, there is such a wide application of this art form. We learned how to read and write critically, to express ourselves both succinctly (though I know I fail at that sometimes) and intelligently.
I write about this today because this program is in jeopardy. The CFPA is moving to a new high school (which I’m indifferent about it, as long as it exists somewhere in the county and is open to kids across the county). The issue here is the discontinuation of the creative writing concentration. The school board has decided that creative writing is either not a sufficient art form to maintain its place in the program, or perhaps it boils down to root cause of mostly everything: $$$
One of my old classmates has started a very successful petition that has garnered support from authors Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and Jacqueline Carey. If you feel that creative writing should remain part of this program in its intensive form, please consider signing this petition. The petition will be presented to the school board on October 17th.
To read even more about the importance of this program, here’s a great post from one of my former teachers.
Thanks for your support of the arts!