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The Aquilian

    The Gonzaga Poets and Writers Club continues to operate during the pandemic

    Until+this+year%2C+club+members+participated+each+year+in+a+poetry+workshop+with+students+from+Bishop+Walker+School.+%28Photo+by+Mr.+Joe+Ross%29
    Until this year, club members participated each year in a poetry workshop with students from Bishop Walker School. (Photo by Mr. Joe Ross)

    While the country has been locked down for almost an entire year due to the pandemic, the Gonzaga Poets and Writers Club hasn’t skipped a beat. Before COVID-19, meetings were held in English teacher Mr. Joe Ross’s room and mainly consisted of poetry workshops, in which a student read his poem aloud, and others who attended analyzed and critiqued his work. When the school transitioned to virtual learning, the only aspect that changed was the location. Ross said attendance has remained relatively the same, and the club has continued its work as usual.

    “To be honest, I’ve been amazed at these guys. [. . .] They’ve been really consistent. It’s been really cool to see,” Mr. Ross said. 

    Though weekly meetings have not been affected, the transition has not been perfect. The Poets and Writers Club has a great relationship with Bishop Walker School, a small, tuition-free school in Southeast DC. In the past, the fifth-grade students have met with club members to do a poetry workshop, but the pandemic has disrupted this tradition. 

    Seeing them going from laying their heads on their desks to smiling, laughing, and wanting to be there with us made my entire week. [. . .] I think it’s just so important that we keep in contact with them,” stated Kevin Donalson, senior. 

    Richard Scott, a sophomore, feels the same way.

    “The opportunity to positively impact those that will come after me will be one of my greatest achievements,” Scott stated.

    The members of the Gonzaga Poets and Writers Club have worked hard to confront the challenges facing the country and express themselves through poetry. The summer of 2020 was full of turmoil and served as motivation, playing a major role in the club’s resiliency.

    “We were coming off of the summer, of all the protests about racial justice, [. . .] [and] a lot of the guys were really on fire to write about that,” Mr. Ross explained.

    This enthusiasm is evidenced by club members Kevin Donalson, Kadari Machen, E.J. Anders, Jack Ryan and Richard Scott, who wrote poems that were recently published in InLight Magazine. Additionally, the tradition of inviting back alumni who were members of the club has continued; in the most recent event held last month, about 50 students met on zoom to hear from alumni poets, listen to their experiences with writing after high school and receive feedback on poems. Despite the current conditions, the Poets and Writers Club has not stopped its work, and the future looks incredibly bright. 

    If students would like to get involved, meetings are held at 3 p.m. on Thursdays, and students can contact Mr. Ross at [email protected] for a zoom link. New members are always welcome.

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