Chapter Life Eastern Region English Studies Service Writing

Chapter Project Grant: Bridging the Gap Between High School and College Writing

Members brainstorm and edit with local high school students
Members brainstorm and edit with local high school students

by Chi Tau Chapter
University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD

Don’t forget to submit your Sigma Tau Delta Project Grant application by the extended deadline of November 1, 2015. Keep reading to see what one chapter accomplished with their project grant last year.

Sigma Tau Delta’s Chi Tau Chapter has tutored at local high schools since our Students For Students (SFS) keystone service project’s inception. Former Chi Tau President Lena Stypeck founded SFS in 2013. This semester, our chapter had the opportunity to build upon that legacy with the support of a Sigma Tau Delta Project Grant.

In recent years, our chapter has strived to extend our Society’s values in writing and education beyond the confines of our campus. In an effort to create a Sigma Tau Delta presence in our local community, chapter members held several SFS tutoring sessions at Northwestern High School, a school just down the street from the University of Maryland (UMD).

Chapter members brainstorm and edit with local high school students.
Chapter members brainstorm and edit with local high school students.

During each visit, our members offered writing expertise and college insight to eager students at Northwestern’s career center. Most sessions this semester focused on college application essays. Students approached each session in various stages of the writing process; some came with a full draft in hand, while others had a prompt, a blank page, and writer’s block. Regardless of the student’s progress, our members engaged him or her in brainstorming, outlining, or revising.

Chi Tau President Amanda Dew tutors a local high school student.
Chi Tau President Amanda Dew tutors a local high school student.

Perhaps above all, our members had the chance to dispel a variety of the high school students’ fears about approaching a daunting essay assignment. When students first discovered we had chosen to pursue a college English degree, they often were astonished. Many of them hated writing–or they found it too difficult. We hoped showing them the steps to tackling big assignments and giving them tips on creating impactful essays would make the writing process less intimidating. Furthermore, we worked to build and fortify the students’ confidence in their writing abilities to ensure these students would know in the future they were perfectly capable of college-level writing.

Many students told our tutors about their desire to attend college. One student’s family recently immigrated to the United States. Another was a College Park community native who had dreamed of attending UMD since she was young. Both students’ enthusiasm was inspiring. Plus, our tutors had the chance to share the inside scoop about everything UMD has to offer.

Beyond the chance to engage with local high school students, the SFS service project aided recruitment. While tabling at events, SFS entices many English majors to join our group, and encourages non-English majors to engage with their local community. In an environment, at least at UMD, where English majors are becoming less and less common, recruitment is vital. We want English majors to be aware of the practical applications of learning to read and write critically so they can pass such awareness on to new generations of college students.

We hope to continue to grow a passion for writing and literature in the campus and surrounding communities as we prepare for fall 2015!

About Sigma Tau Delta Project Grants

Sigma Tau Delta’s Project Grants are designed to encourage local chapters to be innovative in developing projects that further the goals of the Society. The Society will award a limited number of grants, for no more than $500 each, to support local chapter activities. Funds may be requested for separate projects or for parts of larger projects, and chapters should explore ways to use Project Grants in combination with funds secured from other sources. Funds may be requested for ongoing projects, but there is no guarantee that projects funded during one grant period will receive funding in future grant periods. Winning chapters may also receive up to $350 in travel assistance for sending at least one student representative to the annual convention to participate in a workshop and/or roundtable. Winning chapters are encouraged to share a chapter exhibit at the convention. To provide additional recognition for the project, a final report must be submitted as a narrative (300-800 words) or a video (2-3 minutes) suitable for posting on this blog.

Applications must be complete and received by the extended deadline of November 1, 2015. No late submissions will be accepted. Award winners will be notified by November 15, with one-half of the awarded funds available immediately; the other half when a final project report is filed.

Project Grant Application Details and Application Instructions

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