Three South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) Creative Writing students are featured in new essays on The Atlantic website.
Atlantic contributor Deborah Fallows requested the essays after visiting and writing about the school in January as part of the site’s “American Futures” series.
“I asked Scott Gould, a creative writing teacher at the school, if he would ask his students to write me a short essay about their school,” Fallows wrote. “This was a wide-open request; I wanted to hear whatever perspective the students wanted to offer about their experience at the school.”
The essays were written by Cameron Messinides (Camden), Shelley Hucks (Florence) and Jackson Trice (Simpsonville). They were published “unedited and untouched.”
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The following are snippets of the three essays.
Cameron Messinides – “Long Distance”
My family walked among the carcasses–once white, now bloodstained and caked with rain-softened clay. We wanted to find life, my mother said. They gave up at four in the afternoon, and my father and brother made a pile of the bodies in the woods, to be buried later.
Phone calls like this are common now. I’ve been in a boarding school since August, and every weekend my mother seems to find something new to break to me. It’s not always bad. The weekend before, she called to tell me my brother enrolled in a birding retreat on the South Carolina coastline. And before that, she told me about the new color she picked for the living room walls. I’m still not used to this kind of communication. I miss immediacy. A year ago, when I still lived with them, I would know all this. She wouldn’t have to tell me two or three days later. I’d like to say I’ve adjusted, but I haven’t.
Shelley Hucks – “Florentine”
At the Governor’s School, I’ve studied under excellent teachers. I’ve been exposed to new authors and genres, learned to be curious, analytical, to believe in the deliberation of every line of poetry and each line of dialogue in a short story. I’ve learned to put my personal life into artistic context with the help of professionals. I’ve learned to become aware. To make something strange, beautiful, something important. And, something particularly valuable to me because of my immense pride in my hometown, I’ve learned to appreciate a strong sense of setting, the way characters can function in so many complex ways. I’ve learned how to convey Florence in words.
Jackson Trice – “Outside the Lines”
I forget how strange my school sounds to the rest of the world until I leave it. On a card at the front desk inside a college admissions building, I am told to write the name of my high school. The full name, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, does not fit on the dotted line, and I have to draw an arrow to the back of the card, and write the rest there. When I say my school’s name out loud to family members, it sounds prestigious, almost regal. But on the first day of school here it is made clear that I was chosen based on potential, and not necessarily talent. It’s this ego smashing that happens throughout junior year that creates the atmosphere of Governor’s School. You don’t get “good,” you just make progress. You are not special, you’ve just been given an excellent opportunity.
Read the complete essays here.
Via: South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities