Talk Story, Write Story 2014 Upward Bound College Prep Program

June 24 – July 3, 2014 at the UAF Campus, Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Student workshop participants were Lucille Anaruk II, Bethel; Nellie Okpowruk, Shishmaref; Rory Paukan, St. Marys; Danika Bailie, Bethel; Brittany Agnus, Chefornak; Jessica Kuzuguk, Shishmaref; Chase Alexie; Tiffany Billy, Chefornak; and Caroline Marks, Chefornak.

 Student evaluations of the 2014 Talk Story, Write Story Upward Bound Workshop

Brittany Agnus

I learned a lot from this class. I learned how to write lots of papers I am experiencing before I go to college. I am writing a lot in this class. This program is making me want to go to college. I think writing these essays is not that bad. I know some can be hard and emotional, but I want to write more.

Leadership is probably going to help me the most. If you want to become a leader you have to show it. That is what I am doing about N.Y.O. I am learning more about leadership. And it seems like I am leading this class, by working hard in this class. And I am improving a lot in this class.

I could tell my siblings about college and what I learned from this program. I could tell them I learned a lot and let them experience it too. I could even tell them how much I write in this class. I am writing a lot in this class and that is the good thing. I will tell my siblings about experiencing college.

What I like about this class is when we were talking about my hometown. I liked that essay because I told my story to the class. Talking about my hometown is making me want to go  home. And I have two more days.

Caroline Mark

What I learned from this experience is I got brave to talk in front of the class, and sometimes I get scared. What will help the most is it will help me to control my movement when I speak in front of the class. The essays I made will help me get my Gates scholarships. Making essays in my hometown will help me because I have experienced it.  What I want to take back is I want to encourage other students to come to Upward Bound. It will help them make scholarships. What I liked about this class was we helped each other, we paired up into to three groups and it really helped a lot.

Chase Chumder Alexie

This class was very beneficial to me and my work ethic. I have never thought that I was able to put that much work in because back in Bethel, I was always the lazy student. I learned a lot about myself and I have to give thanks to this class. It became easier to open up and much easier to think at a higher level. The things about this class, the process of becoming a family, how small things widen when you actually put in work and how bigger your thoughts become, has really changed me.

When this class started, I did not think it would have ended up as good as it did. I was afraid of this class and now I feel I will miss all of these people and what they have done. The kind of bond that we hold is very special to me, we worked together and that brought us closer. I could take in how these essays were, how difficult they were to write, and compare them to future essays and giggle. In all my years of high school, I have never had any essay that was as challenging as these were.

This class gave me a chance to work to my full potential and now that I know what it is, I know that I could be so much more than what I show in school. Sure, the essays pooped me out but I had support, support from fellow students like me. Those students gave support like we were a family of some sort, and I loved that.

I enjoyed this class, I am able to take everything I have done and place it in the topics of future scholarship essays I will have to do. I learned to be more descriptive in how I write because not everyone will know what I do and who I am. Those people have not seen the life we had, have no knowledge at all on how our culture is and how our villages look. I learned that there is always something more to do —  when you think you have finished, the finish line is still many miles ahead of you.

I loved every minute in this class and I know I will take everything and use it to my advantage. I know how hard scholarship essays are now, and thanks to this class I will know what to do. I give thanks to Tad, Dean, Falon, Ashley and Jeanne for taking their time to come and teach, change and reveal us. They have revealed who we could be as hard workers, I thank all of them for that.

Danika Bailie

This experience was honestly life changing. I came to the class dedicated and wanting to learn. What I learned from this class was not anything that I would be tested on in an exam, but something much more useful to my future — that was coming to understand myself, it was knowing how far I could take myself in the future, from my past.

I already knew that I could write exceptional essays, but to suddenly have to sit down and write about how I was treated unfairly was something I had never done before. I did not even realize that my life was hard until I took this class. I learned a great deal about myself from writing, no other class had ever made me look into myself that much.

We had to learn to trust Tad and Dean’s advice, they had been doing this with so many other students. They knew what the scholarship readers would be looking for, we had to realize that they knew that.

The advice from Tad, Dean, and Jeanne is probably the most useful advice that I have ever been given. They pushed all of us to dig deep, into our own thoughts, and bring them up so that we could realize how important they will be, not only for scholarships, but for our writing in school and college.

Tad and Dean know how these scholarships work, inside and out. They have worked with many, many other kids like me, for the same scholarships. We all found what scholarship readers will want to read- not saying that they wanted us to lie in our essays, but rather to write real things. They knew we were special — we didn’t realize that before they came.

I can go back to school with confidence in myself, knowing that I am special and can bring forth so much into this world. I can encourage other kids in my school to want to do something with their lives, instead of being stuck in a town they love to complain about. I have an advantage to do this because I am a Social Chair. I plan to go back to school and encourage kids at every assembly to do the best that they can, to believe in themselves.

I like the essays we wrote in the class. I’m sure I was not the only one who enjoyed finding out more about themselves from putting it all out on paper. I really did not expect all of this almost life-altering information I did not realize about myself. I liked the support that Tad and Dean shared. It was really like we were family. They mentioned at the beginning that we would become a family, but I really didn’t expect it to actually happen. I also liked the pretzels and cheese that Tad and Dean gave us for snacks.

Jessica Kuzuguk

From this experience, I learned a lot in a week’s worth of class. Sure it was a struggle but eventually it made sense. I learned not to introduce an opening paragraph with a question because you do not want to make the reader think, that you should always keep the reader interested in your paper. I also learned that you should make the reader feel like they are in your story, that you should show the reader how to do something rather than tell. Your writing should always be entertaining, to educate the reader, and to have a point.

I also learned answering all parts to a question is very important in writing, to put yourself in the story, and to be descriptive. I learned to not be shy while telling parts of my writing. I also got help not only from the teacher, but also the other students who participated. I have learned to become a better writer. It was a lot of work and effort in a short period of time, and they were hard on us, but it was only to improve our writing skills, and to help us.

It is more of a thinking process then to actually writing what you want to write. You re-write something over and over until it is the way you want it and that is okay. Most importantly you should always write from the heart, and tell your own story.

What I think will help me the most is just to write. Not thinking too much, but just to write what I am trying to say. Also to keep the reader interested, to make them feel that they are part of the story.

What I can take back is to help others, to give them some ideas, to be more descriptive, to answer all parts of a question, the ability to write, the experiences I had while being here, the support and help from everyone. I will also take back a little bit of everything I learned from this class.

I liked when we individually talked about our papers to the teachers, their help, support, and ideas. I liked the way others had written their papers, with how they described certain things, such as their hometown or being a leader. I also liked the grouping and how we worked in pairs.

Nellie Okpowruk

The students that had this class last year told us that it was a lot of work and it also made them think about what they have gone through in their live. On the first day of this class I did not know what to expect. Throughout the week we wrote four draft essays for the Gates  Millennium Scholarship. I learned to keep an open mind on what I want to write about. The class also taught me to write from my heart, and to write in a way where I could be heard from everyone. The best thing about this class was hearing everyone’s stories. I would like to thank Tad, Dean, Falon, Jeanne, and Ashley for making this class.

Rory Paukan

In this essay writing class, I have learned a lot more about myself that I never even knew.   What I have learned most about myself was how hard a childhood I have grown up with. These essays have helped me understand how many values I have in life that I didn’t even know existed. Writing some of these essays was emotional for everybody in the class. I could not help but cry when I wrote one that taught me more about myself. I also felt sorrow from listening to others read their essays.

All the teachers in this class have helped me the most. They were real helpful as I wrote each essay over and over again. I can take the knowledge that I have gained from my teachers and learn from it as I continue to write more in the future.

What I liked most about this class was how we all started to become a family in just one week. I enjoyed reading mine, and others essays, throughout this last week of our Upward Bound program. When I go home, I am going to be real happy to see my hometown and my family again, but I will also miss everybody in all three Upward Bound programs.

Tiffany Billy

What I learned about this experience? I have experienced to speak up in front of the class and try my best to be brave and ask for help when I need it. Writing about our home town, family, gates scholarships, and the treated unfairly. Those has lead me for who I became and it was great experience. I thought I wouldn’t be able to speak up in front of the class, because I get scared as if I get really bad anxiety and my face blushes, which I don’t like.

What will help me the most?  In my opinion, if I raise my voice louder than talking too quiet. Asking for help when I needed it the most, and not being shy.

What can I take back from this class? I would become the leader in class and to other students. Apparently, I would know everything what I have learned in Upward Bound. Encourage the students back at my home town and my other friends to come here.

What I liked best about the class? Learned more about myself. Speaking up in front of the class, and writing essays.