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NDSU faculty facilitate Teen Art and Writing Workshop

Photo of Kelly Sassi at workshop

Sassi during workshop

Kelly Sassi, associate professor with a joint appointment in the English department and the School of Education, and Denise Lajimodiere, assistant professor in the School of Education, co-facilitated the third annual Turtle Mountain Teen Art and Writing Workshop June 26-29.

A total of 20 students in grades 7-12 attended the workshop. It is sponsored by the Red River Valley Writing Project at NDSU, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Turtle Mountain Community Schools.

The goal of the workshop is to provide opportunities for teens to express their creativity while developing skills in writing, art and technology. Development of a personal voice and vision is a priority of the organizers. NDSU graduate students Anthony Albright, Caitlin Johnson, and Shweta Sharma led workshops in dramatic script writing, journalism and revision, respectively. 

Other workshop leaders included Lise Erdrich, Laura Youngbird, Anthony LaFromboise, Sadie Frederick, Marlin Allery, Frankie Jo Morin, Dave Binkard and 2014 National Student Poet Weston Clark.

Workshops included video game design, journalism, birchbark scroll writing, digital art, poetry, dramatic script and songwriting. Students focused on polishing a piece of their work for the final showcase June 29 at Turtle Mountain Community College. NDSU alumus Erik Kornkven, English department chair at the college, helped organize the event. About 70 members of the community attended.

A special feature of the workshop was a visit to Fort Totten Historical Site. Students wrote about the space, read excerpts from boarding school narratives, toured the site and listened to two elders speak about their experiences attending boarding school. Sassi and Lajimodiere are partnering with four other historical sites and writing project sites around the country on a National Endowment for the Humnaities grant proposal to do additional programming in future years. 

Students are encouraged to submit their work to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative teens.

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