LHS Poetry Book Helps Students Show Academic Merit and Share Their Own Unique Voices

The Student Publishing Program has announced that its fourth poetry book, The Common Understanding: Poems from Lexington High School’s Class of 2017, has already received submissions from over 450 sophomores. “It’s the most ever in over a decade of working with LHS,” says program cofounder and LHS Grad Anthony Tedesco, adding that “print publication is a great motivator for students, but none of this would be possible without the dedicated writing support of LHS’s English teachers and the courageous participation of the sophomores themselves.”
This year’s book is titled from one of the featured poems, The Common Understanding, written by LHS sophomore Austin Fowlkes, and the book will include a foreword by Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate, founder of The Favorite Poem Project (favoritepoem.org), and author of Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux).
Founded in 2002 by Tedesco and LHS English Teacher Karen Russell, The Student Publishing Program (SPP) is a school-fundraising English Literary Arts curriculum that works with local teachers and the nation’s top poets to help students find and express their own unique voices and demonstrate their academic merit – to themselves and to the community at-large – beyond data-driven assessment. Russell explains that “While SPP meets key Common Core standards and benchmarks for 10th grade English Language Arts, it goes beyond that to help students often exceed perceived ability levels when they are given the opportunity to find their genuine voice that expresses what truly matters.”

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For SPP’s free writing and publishing resources, information on pre-ordering LHS’s poetry book, and opportunities to help The Student Publishing Program with your time, tax-deductible donations or expert advice, please visit ColonialTimes.LHSpoem.org

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SPP’s school-safe, online publishing platform, makes it easy and quick for teachers to secure and manage hundreds of submissions and permissions, so all sophomores have the opportunity to get their poems published and promoted in an online literary magazine and in a paperback book, with SPP giving 100% of profits back to LHS to further support English Language Arts.
In 2011, when SPP was last able to publish students in a book and promote their work through a book launch/poetry reading event, it was thanks in part to vital support, says Tedesco, from the William G. Tapply Memorial Fund and Lexington Community Education. But even without funding this year, to enable participation and the benefits of print publication, SPP decided to provide the program at no cost to LHS, with SPP’s small staff volunteering all of its time and services, much as so many generous advisors and authors have done to benefit students in the past, including invaluable support from teachers, students, and parents, as well as from local writers such as C. Anthony Martignetti, author of, most recently, Beloved Demons (3 Swallys Press), and X.J. Kennedy, winner of the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry, and author of In A Prominent Bar In Secaucus: New & Selected Poems (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

Van Seasholes

Van Seasholes

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In 2011’s book, titled Unsaid, Kennedy wrote: “To any writer, writing always seems more a meaningful act if it results in publication. In bringing out Unsaid, Anthony Tedesco and the Student Publishing Program have accomplished something rare and valuable. This book and this program strike me, to the best of my knowledge, as the most remarkable gift to student writers that anyone has offered in America.”
For SPP’s free writing and publishing resources, information on pre-ordering LHS’s poetry book, and opportunities to help The Student Publishing Program with your time, tax-deductible donations or expert advice, please go online to ColonialTimes.LHSpoem.org.
As the Student Publishing Program’s founding media partner, The Lexington Colonial Times Magazine is also proud to be featuring additional student poems and program coverage in an upcoming issue during April’s National Poetry Month.
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