lauraTwo days before the vote on Indianapolis Public Schools restructuring, and the students of Shortridge swarmed into the Exclusive Ink classroom once again. A little subdued, but as enthusiastic as ever, the happy, smiling students who produce such amazing writing could not be stopped.

The PBJs were whipped up faster than usual, and the students got down to business, expressing and describing colours, using images to describe some simple yet meaningful words and objects.

The atmosphere in Room 238 is never anything but buzzing, with never a dull moment, thanks to such an array of characters and individuals, all with their own style and ideas to produce unique pieces of writing.

There are those who sit deep in thought, those who ponder over every word, and those who have a good think whilst wandering around the classroom. But no matter which way they write, what they write is often amazing and heartfelt.

I’m often touched by the stories and pieces of work these students produce, and it makes me see how much Exclusive Ink means to these children. They truly benefit from the time they spend in the classroom. The huge amount of progress I have seen during this semester has been awesome (a new, very American word to me that I’ve grown to love after spending my time with the children).

The students are all special in their own little ways and through working with them, they have not only taught me so much about my own writing and my thought process, but also a lot about myself and my general view on life. These children chose to be in the classroom after the bell rings at 2:30p.m. and value every minute they spend in the classroom, not just writing but socializing, eating, and teaching us mentors about their school and themselves. Because of this, I am very grateful to be able to spend week upon week in the Shortridge classroom, helping others to grow as well as myself.

Laura Riches is a graduate student in the MA English program from Manchester, England.