Verselandia! 2013 and Wieden + Kennedy

Verselandia! went big for its second year, with the Wonder Ballroom hosting the all-PPS high school poetry slam on April 30. The thirty finalists from Benson, Cleveland, Franklin, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Metropolitan Learning Center, Roosevelt, and Wilson high schools had a full year to prepare for this year’s event, and the preparation definitely shone through in the performances. It was a fantastic evening that garnered coverage in Portland Monthly, The Oregonian and on OPB.

Here are the winning students:

1st Micah Fletcher- Madison High
2nd Ke’Shayla Brown-MLC
3rd Jess Faunt-Cleveland High
4th Sydney Oliver-Grant High
5th Lauren Steele-Jefferson High

Wieden + Kennedy generously sponsored Verselandia this year, and brought the five winners to their offices in Portland for a day. First, the students performed in the atrium for the staff, and they received a standing ovation and whistles of appreciation.

Then they took an elevator to the top floor and participated in a live broadcast on OPB’s Think Out Loud, recorded in “The Nest,” which is perched high above the atrium. Sunlight filtered into the room whose walls are made from whorls of branches, and the students sat on an enormous felted bench made to look like mossy rocks. When they performed their pieces, their voices echoed down through the building. It was an amazing moment.

Best in Nest

Afterward, students went on a tour of the building, including the Studio, a dark and silent cave where graphic designers work out their ideas, followed by the bright and noisy office where the Nike staff collaborates, as well as the work tables set up for WK 12 students. They then had lunch at Bluehour with W+K co-founder Dan Wieden and other leaders of the agency. Students mostly reflected on their writing processes and Verselandia experience.

After lunch, students met with four members of the W+K staff in the lunchroom, who told the students their stories of how they started in advertising and how they ended up at W + K. According to Hunt Holman, a contractor for Literary Arts and Student Wrangler Extraordinaire, “the overall point seemed to be that the students already had the skills and creative knack that W+K is always seeking.” Here’s to seeing where these connections lead to in the bright futures of these winners!

All-Expenses Paid Opportunity for Student Journalists—Princeton University Summer Journalism Program

Each summer, Princeton University hosts an enriching, 10-day program for high-school juniors from low-income backgrounds to cultivate their journalistic talents. Past students have made investigative reports, covered professional sports events, produced TV segments, and published their own newspapers. If you dream of a career in journalism and would like to meet peers from across the nation who share your enthusiasm for news media, you should absolutely consider applying for the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program.

But it gets better! Not only is this a fantastic educational opportunity during which you will learn from the best and brightest journalists—from reporters and editors at The New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and Sports Illustrated (to name a few) to broadcasters and investigative journalists for NPR and CNN—it’s also an all-expenses paid experience. That’s right! Everything, including airfare and travel-related costs for going to Princeton University, is paid for by the program.

What’s more, you’ll receive long-term support for applying to colleges and pursuing internship opportunities in journalism. During the program, for example, you’ll get to take an SAT prep course taught by Princeton Review, which will give you an edge in the college application process. Once you’re in college, program staff will assist you in finding and applying for internships in journalism. Alumni from the program have attended some of the best universities in the country—from Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia Universities to premier liberal arts colleges like Amherst and Swarthmore Colleges. Check out some testimonials from alumni who have gone on to rewarding, vibrant careers in journalism!

Deadline is February 21, 2014! Application and instructions for applying are here. To apply, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Be a junior in high school
Live in the continental United States
Have an unweighted GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0
Be interested in journalism
The combined income of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, must not exceed $45,000.
We recommend starting on your applications as early as possible, and working with your teachers to get everything together. You’ll need to submit (1) an official high school transcript, (2) the first page of the income-tax return form (the 1040 or 1040EZ form) for the calendar year 2012 of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s); or a signed statement by your parent(s)/guardian(s) saying that their income is below the level at which they would be required to file income tax returns, (3) a recommendation letter from a teacher, (4) clips from your high school newspaper or other publication (if you have them).

For more information, visit the Princeton University SJP website, check out the SJP Tumblr, or contact the program at sjp@princeton.edu. The program encourages students to get in touch with any questions they have. We hope to see some of our WITS students represented this summer!

Two Grant HS Readings at Broadway Books

So many students from Grant High School wanted to participate that we had a double-header of readings at Broadway Books, and it was a full house both nights! Students shared prose and poetry, including slam poetry, for enthusiastic audiences of friends, parents, and teachers. Thanks to teachers Stephanie D’Cruz, Dylan Leeman, Mary Rodeback, Kris Spurlock, and Virginia Warfield for hosting WITS writers Amy Minato, Mark Pomeroy, Ismet Prcic, and Joanna Rose in their classes. It was obvious from the students’ pieces that they had a great time, and they produced wonderful writing!

Two Grant HS Readings at Broadway Books

So many students from Grant High School wanted to participate that we had a double-header of readings at Broadway Books, and it was a full house both nights! Students shared prose and poetry, including slam poetry, for enthusiastic audiences of friends, parents, and teachers. Thanks to teachers Stephanie D’Cruz, Dylan Leeman, Mary Rodeback, Kris Spurlock, and Virginia Warfield for hosting WITS writers Amy Minato, Mark Pomeroy, Ismet Prcic, and Joanna Rose in their classes. It was obvious from the students’ pieces that they had a great time, and they produced wonderful writing!

Franklin WITS Reading Packs the Bipartisan Cafe

On a drizzly Tuesday evening, the Bipartisan Cafe was warm and buzzing with energy for the Franklin High School WITS reading. Throughout the semester, students worked with Lisa Eisenberg and Chuck Carlise to create and revise prose and comics. The comics were projected onto a screen as students guided the audience through the panels. Thanks so much to teachers Sandra Childs, Irene Montano, Norman Stremming and Dana Vigner for hosting writers in their classrooms! It was a fun event that showcased great work.

Franklin WITS Reading Packs the Bipartisan Cafe

On a drizzly Tuesday evening, the Bipartisan Cafe was warm and buzzing with energy for the Franklin High School WITS reading. Throughout the semester, students worked with Lisa Eisenberg and Chuck Carlise to create and revise prose and comics. The comics were projected onto a screen as students guided the audience through the panels. Thanks so much to teachers Sandra Childs, Irene Montano, Norman Stremming and Dana Vigner for hosting writers in their classrooms! It was a fun event that showcased great work.

Lincoln Students Read at the Portland Art Museum

It was a packed house in the Sondland/Durant Trustee Boardroom of the Portland Art Museum on the evening of May 15. Friends, family, and community members came to listen to poetry and prose by Lincoln High School students, who had worked with WITS writers-in-residence Amanda Gersh, Cindy Williams Gutierrez, and Joe Rogers. These writers taught in the classes of Jordan Gutlerner, Emily Hensley, Cindy Irby, Amanda-Jane Nelson, and Tracey Wyatt, helping students create and revise their writing. It was a fun celebration, with lots of laughter and applause. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this event a success!

Lincoln Students Read at the Portland Art Museum

It was a packed house in the Sondland/Durant Trustee Boardroom of the Portland Art Museum on the evening of May 15. Friends, family, and community members came to listen to poetry and prose by Lincoln High School students, who had worked with WITS writers-in-residence Amanda Gersh, Cindy Williams Gutierrez, and Joe Rogers. These writers taught in the classes of Jordan Gutlerner, Emily Hensley, Cindy Irby, Amanda-Jane Nelson, and Tracey Wyatt, helping students create and revise their writing. It was a fun celebration, with lots of laughter and applause. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this event a success!

WITS Reading for Roosevelt & Open Meadow Students

Students from Roosevelt and Open Meadow High School had a beautiful, sunny day for their boisterous end-of-semester WITS reading at Girasole Pizza in St. Johns. Writers-in-residence Ramiza Koya and Jonathan Hill spoke about working with students, and Hill helped explain the narrative and visual aspects of creating comics. Many of the students’ pieces contained a range of emotions, from hilarity to heartbreak, and everyone received a round of applause after sharing their work. Thanks so much to Amy Ambrosio and Barb Macon for hosting Koya and Hill in their classrooms at Roosevelt, and to Paige Knight at Open Meadow for hosting poet Elyse Fenton. The reading was a great way to culminate a semester of hard work!

WITS Reading for Roosevelt & Open Meadow Students

Students from Roosevelt and Open Meadow High School had a beautiful, sunny day for their boisterous end-of-semester WITS reading at Girasole Pizza in St. Johns. Writers-in-residence Ramiza Koya and Jonathan Hill spoke about working with students, and Hill helped explain the narrative and visual aspects of creating comics. Many of the students’ pieces contained a range of emotions, from hilarity to heartbreak, and everyone received a round of applause after sharing their work. Thanks so much to Amy Ambrosio and Barb Macon for hosting Koya and Hill in their classrooms at Roosevelt, and to Paige Knight at Open Meadow for hosting poet Elyse Fenton. The reading was a great way to culminate a semester of hard work!