The Write Way


Braden Dennis

The writing center is open in room 241 during STAR and after school until 3:00.

Braden Dennis, Photo Editor

If you’ve ever struggled with writing an essay or drafting a thesis, or want feedback on any form of writing whether assignment or personal hobby, NHS has an option.
Rachel Lechner, sponsor of the writing center, created it in order to help students receive quality feedback and advice on their writing.
“The writing center is a place where students can bring anything they’re writing — papers, independent projects and any kind of class assignment across the curriculum – and have it looked over,” Lechner said.
The writing center has flexible hours to adjust to students’ changing schedules throughout the week.
“We are open Tuesday through Thursday after school until 3 p.m.,” Lechner said. “We are also open every day during STAR.”
Whenever a student brings in their project, they will be helped by a student writing consultant.
“You sit down with what we call a writing consultant and they will help you with the flow of your paper,” Lechner said. “If you have something in particular you need feedback or help on, they can give you that too.”
A writing consultant, senior Marek Davis, helps the students who come in seeking feedback.
“Firstly, we introduce ourselves and ask what they need help with, and then we will have them bring out their writing and go over it with them,” Davis said. “We will help them find errors in their papers and things that can be worked on.”
The information consultants use when helping students with their writing didn’t come from nowhere — writing consultants had to go through a seminar in order to be taught how to address a students’ needs.
Madelyn Stahler, a junior writing consultant, participated in the seminar in order to learn and understand the feedback process.
“The training was a three-hour process back in early November,” Stahler said. “We learned how to not only tutor them, but give the tools needed to make the writing the best that they can.”
The seminar used a variety of methods to help writing consultants understand how to be a better guide and mentor to the students seeking help.
“They gave us someone else’s essay and we talked about the corrections and changes to the essay and how to best deliver them to the student,” Davis said.
Teachers chose students in higher level English classes for the seminar, and they trained a large amount of students. Throughout the writing center’s schedule, there is always one consultant present.
“We have about 39 students available,” Lechner said. “We mainly have juniors and seniors as our consultants because they were identified as good potential writing helpers by their teachers.”
After the seminar and the new writing consultants, Lechner finalized the idea of the writing center, which stemmed from a single thought.
“Most college campuses have a writing center to help students with whatever they are working on,” Lechner said. “MSU, College of the Ozarks and when I worked at Branson, all those places had a writing center which gave me the idea of setting up a student run one here in Nixa.”
Although Lechner came up with the idea of the writing center, she wasn’t alone in creating it.
“Erin Livengood pushed it to administration and the administration thought it sounded like a great idea,” Lechner said. “We came up with my room as a place and next year we are hoping that it has its own classroom.”
Lechner said she believes that the writing center has had a great deal of success in its early days.
“So far we have had lots of people come in during STAR, and to those who came in and got feedback said it was wonderful,” Lechner said. “Everyone I’ve talked to who has been here has been really pleased with it and said it was helpful in improving their writing and grades.”
The writing center is open to students who want help with assignments or their personal writing.
“We’ve had students from SCORE, aspiring novelists with their own drafted books and other students,” Lechner said. “It’s a great opportunity so use it to your advantage.”
Not only is it helpful for the student in receiving peer feedback for their writing, but it is also looked favorably upon by the writing consultants.
“I enjoy working in the writing center because I love helping fellow students feel better about their writing skills,” Stahler said. “It’s a great and comfortable setting to allow one-on-one assistance.”
For some, the thought of receiving critique and advice on their writing can be nerve-racking. Davis ensures them that it’s not as bad as they might think.
“No one’s writing is top tier or perfect,” Davis said. “The best way to improve your writing quality is to get another perspective and to see what other people think about it. There’s always room for improvement.”
Stahler believes that the writing center is a useful tool for those struggling or wanting feedback on their writing.
“I do believe that it is beneficial to those who need guidance in their writing,” Stahler said. “It’s a great idea because it helps students learn how to become a better writer.”
Lechner said she hopes that in the future, more students will begin to show up.
“I really would encourage students, even if it sounds intimidating, to come on in and give it a try,” Lechner said.
“We try to make this environment very welcoming, and the writing consultants know what to ask and look for. I encourage everyone to come at least once and see the difference it makes in the quality of your writing.”