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Writing Center tutors help high schoolers

Writing Center TutorsThree Stetson University Writing Center tutors: Vanna Blasczak, Victoria Aldea and  Aiden Keller, pictured left to right, delivered a workshop last month to local high school students on SAT preparation and writing college application essays. During this community event, held at the duPont-Ball Library, tutors gave attendees writing tips, test-taking strategies and offered students personalized assistance as they practiced writing sample SAT essays.

The workshop was the result of a collaboration between Maggie Herb, Director of the Writing Center, and Sheila Rees, Mentor Coordinator for the organization FUTURES/Take Stock in Children, which offers mentoring, scholarships and other educational opportunities for qualified local students.

“Our local community is the backbone to our program,” said Rees. “Supporters such as Stetson University are critical for our students in providing them with workshops, tours and events that transition them into college success.”

The organization’s request for assistance in helping its students prepare for college coincided with the Writing Center’s long term goals to broaden its focus beyond the Stetson community.

“We had been wanting to reach outside the walls of our center and get involved in our local community for some time now,” said Herb. “This was the perfect opportunity for us to help meet a specific need, while also providing tutors with the chance to practice their speaking and teaching skills before a larger audience.”

Writing center tutors, who normally work with Stetson students one-on-one, were eager to participate in the designing and delivering of a workshop and to interact with a different population.

“I wanted to participate in the workshop because it is scary to be a junior/senior in high school and have all of these different writing assignments thrown at you that make an impact on your academic career,” said tutor Vanna Blasczak (first-year, biochemistry major). “I was in their shoes last year and remember how stressful it can be to plan for further education.”

Tutor Victoria Aldea (sophomore, English major) agreed, noting that she hopes students learned that the test-taking and college application process is “not as scary as it seems,” and that by practicing and being well prepared, students can eliminate some of the stress of the process.

Due to widespread interest from local students, Rees and Herb hope to offer the workshop again in the fall.