- If it's true what Andy Warhol said about people's 15 minutes of
fame, then several area students should have about 13 minutes left
Two of those
minutes were used when Public Radio Mississippi came to The University
of Southern Mississippi to tape segments for its upcoming fall program
featuring student writers across the state.
with the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute (MWTI) and the South
Mississippi Writing Project, the program highlights students from
kindergarten through university who have written original pieces
of poetry, fiction or nonfiction about life in Mississippi. In time,
the program will expand to feature the writings of teachers and
just so excited about the opportunity for students to share their
talents with the rest of the state in this kind of medium,"
MWTI Director Kim Patterson said.
school students who participated in Southern Miss' Young Writers
Camp this summer were among the first recorded for the project.
In all, Patterson said she expects to deliver about 240 two-minute
segments to PRM by year's end, enough for a full calendar's worth
of daily airings.
11, a sixth grader at Purvis Middles School, read her original piece
about the Red Bluffs of Mississippi, in which she ends, "
I leave the bluffs, I once more gaze upon the beautiful miniature
admitted being nervous before the taping, Berman nailed the piece
in one take. "I just imagined no one was there," she said,
of the National Writing Project, the MWTI is located at eight Mississippi
universities, including Southern Miss. The project came about, Patterson
said, when PRM approached her about filling the void left by a similar
national show called "Rural Voices." In that program,
students from across the nation take listeners to a distinct region
through a blend of stories, essays, poems, local sounds and music.
running out of national segments in September, and they contacted
us about replacing them with the 2:06 p.m. slot," Patterson
said. "So, we're compiling a CD and a play list for them. We're
the only state in the country doing this for their public radio
Part of the
challenge, Patters said, is preparing the student writers to read
their stories on the air. She said that entails teaching them proper
breath control, stance and enunciation.
us teachers a class on radio speech, and we're teaching the kids
how to read their stories at the right volume and rate," Patterson
said. "In the South, we have a tendency to let our words trail
off at the end. A lot of these kids rush through their first couple
of readings and we've got to help them slow it down."
The tips worked
for Jody Nam, 8, from Presbyterian Christian School. She needed
just two takes to get her piece about looking out her window in
I look out my window, I see birds and lizards and butterflies,"
Nam said, reciting a piece of her composition after her taping at
W-USM in Southern Hall.
administrative co-director of the South Mississippi Writing Project,
Southern Miss' offshoot of the MWTI, said the tapings have gone
very well so far. This year, MWTI will schedule four tapings every
three months, with the topics expanding to include students' thoughts
on seasonal things like holiday traditions, spring baseball and
this program will be an ongoing thing from now until the end of
time," Conrad said.