For the past two years Jamie Cahill, a senior at Rogers High School, and the members of the Writers United club have been meeting every Wednesday after school to share their stories and practice their writing skills through writing games.
Throughout the meetings students get to share the work they have written for classes or independent creative work they have been working on. Cahill said it’s a “nice club to get together and people can share their stories.”
Cahill is president of the club and plans every weekly meeting. The meetings typically consist of a PowerPoint that contains the week’s exercises, a video, the weekly haiku – and then they move into writing tips and play writing games that help develop their skill sets.
At the meetings it is clear the respect and admiration the students have for each other. When one of the members reads their work everyone else intently listens; if one says their work isn’t good they are encouraged to read it anyway with the notion that no matter what, their work will be supported by everyone in the room.
When Cahill started the club she said it was made for her and anyone interested in writing to talk about what they’re working on and collaborate and improve their work. However, Cahill said the club had taught her a lot “mainly about leadership.”
In the developing stages of the club, Cahill said she learned a lot about marketing. To get people to come to meetings she made her own banners and flyers, and then at meetings she would take unofficial polls to see how well her marketing strategies were working.
Andrew Lochhead, Cahill’s AP language teacher and adviser of Writers United, said “ultimately she creates the work every Wednesday, the PowerPoints, and the activities and I just support as needed.”
Lochhead said he has helped mainly with fundraising. He said they sold coffee to raise money to get T-shirts for the club.
Other than that, Lochhead said he hasn’t had to be very involved in organizing the club. “It’s been really neat. Jamie is a unique student who’s a go-getter. She’ll just go do it. It’s been neat to see that she’s taken charge of this and seen some of the bumps and bruises of this and she continues to stick with it.”
Cahill has a full slate of Advanced Placement and honors courses.
She has been accepted to both Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania. She said she will be going in undecided, but her “heart’s always been into English.”
Over the course of her high school career, Cahill has worked hard to succeed and has found achievement in both academics and extracurricular activities. Lochhead said Cahill is one of the most talented students he has had.
Cahill said she has always had a “weird desire to do more” and has found that “when you do your best, your best gets better.”
Riley Utley is a student at Gonzaga University.