The fall semester for both the Butler Bulldogs and the Shortridge Blue Devils is in full swing. For many this means football, leaves, and getting back into study habits that have been neglected over the summer. For us the fall semester signals that it’s time to gear up for Exclusive Ink, which means poetry, art, stories, and bologna sandwiches.

Our first week of Shortridge picked up right where we left off in the spring, despite bringing in some new mentors and new students at SHS. The students certainly didn’t miss a beat, seeing as how they were brandishing their phones and notepads at us as soon as we walked in the door, ready to share what they had written over the summer. Some of us, on the other hand, were a little rusty, and even though some of the Exclusive Ink regulars are involved in other fall activities like football and marching band, we had other veterans really step up this week, even going so far as to teach some of us old Butler dogs some new tricks.

photo (1)

While I was walking around and helping people get going on the prompt, I was about to sit down to talk to Z — and I –, two of our students who have both contributed a ton of work to the Exclusive Ink blog and magazine. I noticed they were working with a couple of our newer mentors and wanted to see how things were going on the first day. I was surprised to see (although I suppose I really shouldn’t have been) that Z —  and I –, instead of dutifully scribbling away, were sharing their wisdom on writing poetry and some of the techniques they had learned over the past couple years. They were engaged, laughing and joking, pushing our mentors much the same way we push them at times to just put something on the page and keep writing.

It was so gratifying to see that relationship developing so quickly and to see the how their confidence has grown over the past year or so. For these students to feel comfortable enough with us, even on the first day, to share their thoughts and opinions on something abstract like writing poetry, felt like a huge victory for us. I suppose that we’re proving an old cliché wrong, while affirming another; it seems that you can teach an old dog new tricks and the teacher really does learn more from the student.