Each semester, a group of our students heads over to South Bend’s Riley High School as part of a community outreach effort begun by Rumit Pancholi and Christina Yu in 2008.

The gatherings include MFA students from both the first and second year classes in poetry and prose reading their favorite writers’ work and their own work to over sixty students from Linda Antonazzi’s junior English classes. Some semesters, the students also help teach class sessions on writing.

While it’s true that some of the students at Riley High School who attend these readings don’t want to come, some of them write notes to one another during the readings, and some fall asleep; it’s also true that many of the students are thrilled to hear poetry and prose read to them. They are excited to talk with the MFA students and sometimes share their own work with us.