YOUNG VOICES: Calumet New Tech's The Collage is amazing club

2013-03-04T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Calumet New Tech's The Collage is amazing clubBy Jaylen Johnson
March 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Collage is Calumet New Tech High School’s poetry club and literary magazine. Charmaine Wierzbicki is the sponsor, I’m the senior editor, and Tania Flores is the junior editor. Joining this club was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Writing poetry is an art. Putting words that blend well with each other can be hard. Picking the right phrases in the right spot is a talent few have. The Collage produces a book full of poetry, creative writing and artwork from Calumet students. The goal is to produce the best writing and art forms from current students.

There is a lot of history behind The Collage. An informative workshop is held every year for high school students, in which amazing poets and authors come to share all they know.

Nine years ago, The Collage started. Some members of the writing club went to various writer’s workshops across Indiana. One that really stood out to members of the writing club was held at Plymouth High School. Billy Evans enjoyed the event so much, he asked, “Why can’t we do that?” Wierzbicki said, “Show me you’re serious, and we can do anything you want.”

In 2007, The Collage earned a National Council of Teachers of English’s Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines Superior Ranking for the book full of writing and artwork from Calumet’s students.

Wierzbicki has invited original members who started The Collage and the workshop back to Write Now! 2013, the ninth annual aspiring author workshop. The original members are excited to come back to look at a club they started.

The Collage is hosting the annual workshop from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 1 at Calumet New Tech High School in Gary. The workshop will feature big name poets and writers. Four poets and writers are booked. They are The Asia Project (Asia Samson), Carlos Robson, Curtis Crisler and Nnedi Okorafor. One more author or poet might be booked.

The Asia Project was the APCA Performer of the Year and was featured on HBO’s "Def Poetry." Carlos Robson was the 2007 and 2008 National Poetry Slam Champ. Curtis Crisler was a Pushcart and Eliot Rosewater Award Nominee. Nnedi Okorafor won the World Fantasy Award for “Who Fears Death” and the Wole Soyinka Prize for American Literature for “Zahrah the Windseeker.”

The workshop is open to high school students. So far, two schools have decided to come. The Collage is always looking to add more schools. Almost half the spots have been reserved for those wanting to attend the workshop.

Those interested in attending the workshop should contact the sponsor, Charmaine Wierzbicki, at

Jaylen Johnson of Merrillville is a senior at Calumet New Tech High School. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's.

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