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Broadneck High: A Haven for Young Writers

Among 24 high schoolers across the county awarded for writing, 12 came from Broadneck.

Earlier this month, 24 high school students from Anne Arundel County high schools were awarded in the Young Authors Contest. Among them, 12 hailed from Broadneck High School.

Patch caught up with Maureen Thomas, who teaches creative writing at BHS, to learn what makes writers thrive at the school.

"Well, we have some very gifted, top-level kids here," Thomas said. "And a lot of them came to Broadneck wanting to take creative writing."

Electives like creative writing are becoming increasingly rare at high schools across the country, and in Anne Arundel County. Shifts in core curriculum over the past decade have whittled away at the creative arts, with a larger emphasis being placed on science, technology and math courses. 

"It's become a supply and demand thing," Thomas said. "And not everybody wants to do it."

Thomas said some students seeking expression in school these days are increasingly having to turn to electives like creative writing to explore their passions.

As a result, the students that join Thomas' creative writing group are dedicated to their craft. And over the years, she's collected a rather eclectic group of kids—an even split among ninth through twelfth grade.

"We've got cheerleaders, lacrosse players, hippies, I've got a really nice cross-section of kids," she said. "And they take it because they like it—they enjoy it. It's relaxing and they get to channel their creativity."

The elective has become Thomas' favorite subject. If she could, she said she would teach writing all day.

Broadneck's English department has four national board certified teachers, Karen Hott, Rose Simmons, Liz Coronado and Thomas. The department's chair, Dionne Harris, is a nominee for the 2013 teacher of the year in Anne Arundel County.

BHS students who were awarded in the Young Authors Contest included:

  • Sarah Givens
  • Hailey Wilberger
  • Alexis Pecknay
  • Abby Brown
  • Paul Green, Jr.
  • Elizabeth Willard
  • Sara Hirshon
  • Sara Schulke
  • Tori Marsh
  • Mackenzie Williams
  • Drew Crandall
  • Rachel Willison

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