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PURCHASE LINE: Creative writing class offers outlet

by SIERRA BERRINGER and HOPE HANKINSON, Gazette Student News Reporters on January 31, 2014 10:50 AM

PURCHASE LINE — Many students, adults, parents and humans in general need a way to release their stress and express themselves, an outlet. For many, it’s yoga, Sudoku puzzles, exercise or reading. However, at Purchase Line High School, students are expressing themselves with creative writing.

Sylvia Mahaffey, English and creative writing teacher, has spent this year teaching her writing class all about looking at writing as an art form. Throughout the school year, students will learn to write poetry, short stories, dramas and a novel of their own. The students also learn the basics of rules of writing.

[Read the full roundup of area high school news from the Gazette's network of student news reporters on Fridays in The Indiana Gazette and in the Student News section on The Indiana Gazette Online.]

[PHOTO: Brianna Guzman, a sophomore at Purchase Line High School, is the author of “The Day Must Always End.” (Bailey Lute/ Purchase Line High School)]

Mahaffey said, “My students are given the opportunity to work on a genre of their choice while still learning about all four main literature genres throughout the year.”

When asked about their favorite projects in the class, two students agreed that the independent project is their favorite.

Freshman Alexandra Swauger said, “I like writing. For my independent project I’m writing a book. I chose to write a fantasy about a girl with powers. I prefer to write novels and series.”

Mahaffey describes Alex-andra’s writing style as, “intense and extremely descriptive.”

Junior Tessa Ankeny, also a student in Mahaffey’s creative writing course, said, “I like that you can basically do your own thing, there aren’t really rules. I’ve learned a lot and it’s a lot of fun. My favorite project is the independent project. I’m writing a romance and I prefer to write short stories.”

Mahaffey has goals in mind for what she hopes her students will accomplish by the end of this school year. Mahaffey said, “I hope that my students get to the point where they feel they have something they are able to publish. I want them to have knowledge and background on the main genres of literature.”

A sophomore at Purchase Line has used the skills learned in her English courses in the outside world. Another student in the creative writing course, Brianne Guzman, author of “The Day Must Always End,” has created an entire collection of poetry and published it.

Guzman has been writing since the second grade, but her mom was the person who truly inspired her to get into writing poetry.

In fact, the entire book is dedicated to her late mother, Shannon Marie Simmons. The month that Guzman lost her mom was the month that she sent in her book to be published, August 2013.

Drafting projects

Drafting students at Purchase Line High School applied their skills to make Christmas-themed projects last month, including sleighs and stars.

Drafting is “the graphic representation of machine parts and descriptions of engineer’s designs,” according to industrial arts teacher John Brady.

The projects are chosen from several different books and are to give the students experience with as many common drafting practices as possible, according to Brady.

The holiday-themed projects are chosen because “it’s something fairly quick and it lets students practice things they have already learned,” said Brady.

“Many students like to take something home on the holidays, because the more complex projects are usually not finished by Christmas,” added Brady.

[PHOTO: Simon Davis, a junior at Purchase Line High School, created a paper sled. (Submitted photo/Purchase Line High School)]

Drafting includes measuring, applying geometry, technical math and technical drawing skills like CAD (computer-aided design).

Brady likes the practical nature of drafting.

“It’s the way the industry communicates and it allows students to see how some of the math skills are used in life,” he added.

The students use linear measurement, angular measurement and feature layout in drafting.

Senior Nicholas Rice took drafting because he enjoys the hands-on experience.

“I like making signs and passes for the teachers,” Rice added.

Rice plans on being a heavy machine operator and drafting will help him read and understand plans and layouts for the future.

Junior Quentin Woods likes drafting because “it gives me a chance to learn how to work with metal and it gives me the experience to work with new things.” 

His favorite project he made in drafting was a weight sled for football. Woods plans to be a welder and drafting helps him better understand plans as well as precise measurements.

Junior Simon Davis plans to use drafting in his future if he gets a job at a shop.

“I learned how to measure and use all the drafting tools. Also how to make pattern developments,” said Shoshone Best, a senior. Her favorite project that she made was a star. 

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