JHS Seniors Grab Chautauqua Institution Writing Opportunity

Alivia Roehrig & Kate Brand

Jamestown High School seniors Kate Brand and Alivia Roehrig had the opportunity every budding writer would love – a free week at Chautauqua Institution as part of the 2017 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Alumni Association Scholarship. Teachers Norma DeJoy and John Twiman and English Department Chair Barbi Price nominated the girls for this prestigious award. Kate and Alivia were required to write three pieces for the application: a short story, a poem and an essay on why they wanted to participate in the program.

As scholarship winners, Kate and Alivia received a free weeklong experience at Chautauqua Institution, room and board with a family, enrollment in a prose writing course and a gate ticket. The best friends were overjoyed with the experience.

“We took a Master Prose class called ‘Exploring Home’ with published author, Ashley Mace Havird. We concentrated on the fully developed scene as it relates to ‘home.’ By the end of the week, we completed a single-scene short story and learned how to use details to describe in a more interesting way. We were definitely the youngest people in class, but it was fun to critique each other’s writing and meet people from all over.”

Kate and Alivia stayed with a Chautauqua family, Joan and Jim Peck, during their week who made them feel very welcome. The young ladies also attended Chautauqua Institution lectures and performances.

“National Geographic week was amazing. It was informative to learn more about the state of the world that we live in,” said Kate and Alivia. “It is something that we would not have been able to experience if not for this scholarship opportunity. Chautauqua Institution is such a historic place right in our backyard, and so much is happening there; it was interesting to see the different viewpoints and opinions at the lectures. We also attended a ballet and the Fourth of July Pops Concert, where we heard the singing of “Ode To Joy.” That was cool because we are musicians and as members of the A Cappella Choir, we had never heard it sung live before.”

Kate is interested in becoming a science teacher and Alivia is planning to go into communications and journalism. They have taken many advanced classes at JHS including JCC College Connections courses, 9th and 10th grade AT English, AP Language, AP Literature.

“Our AP courses are great,” said the young ladies “They are very college-like and will prepare us for our future. The teachers at JHS really want us to succeed.”

Kate and Alivia are members of A Cappella Choir, Madrigal Singers, Marching Band, and Honor Society. Kate is also a member of the Quiz Bowl team and Concert Band. Alivia participates in Orchestra and Symphonic Band.

“We are so lucky to be able to offer our JHS students this Chautauqua opportunity,” said Mrs. Price. “It broadens their scope of experience, exposes them to unique cultural events, and gives them a chance to network with people that they might not otherwise meet. Kate and Alivia were intellectually stimulated and culturally nourished by their week at Chautauqua, and I’m sure that they’ll never forget it.”