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Responses from Students and Parents

circle"Never have I walked into an English classroom with more enthusiasm and energy than I do now, because I am so excited to take back what I learned at the workshop and use it to enhance my studies."

"[My daughter's] experience at Simon's Rock was pivotal in her development as a young woman and as a writer."

"I participated in the Writing and Thinking Workshop during the summer of 1990. I am now a high school English and history teacher. Simon's Rock was an extraordinary experience for me. It was my first time away from home, and my first time pursuing studies that were student driven and truly interesting to me; I think often about that summer."

"In coming to the workshop I wanted to liberate my writing, and truthfully speaking, I got just that. I have done the type of writing here that I have always wanted to do; that is, writing that is both understandable and enjoyable...The experience here at the workshop is one that is indescribable in words, even for a writer, and one that I will always carry with me."

"This workshop has completely opened my mind to learning from other writers, from people's criticism, from the world. I've learned that I'm not the only writer out there, the only person who wants to put it all down on paper. It's a comforting thought, knowing that you do have a valid talent."

"At this workshop I have done the kind of writing I have always wanted to do, and I leave here with an excitement and curiosity that I didn't have before. My writing has been set free and is enjoying itself immensely."

"After discussing the experience with my daughter, I can say that the workshop was not what I expected, but was even better than what I had hoped."

“Over the past three weeks I have produced a remarkably large quantity of poetry, prose, and otherwise prolific writing, of which I am very proud. The array of prompts, reading assignments, free-writes, introductions to new styles, and sources of inspiration I explored during my time in the workshop has helped me expand my writing capabilities and refine ones I already possessed . . . .  [T]he environment of the Young Writers Workshop is also immensely exciting and encouraging. . . . I gained inspiration and insight from working closely with peers that I never could have dreamed up for myself.”

emphatic"Other than the fact that we wrote, workshop was nothing like what I had expected . . . .  I had pictured a writing boot camp. What I found was something of a writing Woodstock. . . . Where I had expected strict prompts for writing assignments, I found possible suggestions for exploratory writings . . . .  We were in workshop for about four and a half hours each day, but with the myriad exercises, the time flew by. I think I enjoyed all of the . . . activities because they caused me to draw upon my creativity and think in new ways, which is always great."

"My workshop group couldn’t have been better. Everyone was engaging and cared about what I wrote. They were all as determined as I was, and wanted to gain as much as possible out of this. I found I was really able to express my ideas and explore new kinds of writing,. Everything I got was just what I wanted."

"I just wanted to let you know that [my daughter]  had a wonderful time at the Young Writers Workshop. The classes were great and her workshop leader was a terrific teacher. She also loved exploring the Berkshires and found the kids to be bright and nice. It was a great three weeks for her, and I thank you for running an excellent program."

"I will take with me to my school the confidence to trust my own instinct as much as what other people say. . . .  [T]hank you so much for one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had. I really discovered new facets of my abilities here and the encouragement and ideas prompted so many realizations. I think our class had a wonderful dynamic and was a really diverse batch of personalities, histories, and styles, which made it interesting and entertaining just to sit and listen. I am very, very glad I decided to come to this workshop."

"This workshop was a wonderful experience for me, beyond simply fulfilling any pre-planned expectations. I came to the Young Writers Workshop with few cut-and-dried standards or goals – likely, I suppose, because my main expectation was to grow in a free and spontaneous environment. I simply hoped that this workshop would liberate my writing from the strictures of a traditional academic world, and give me ample opportunity to write – which, trust me, it has. . . . I’d like to remember the freedom of the Young Writers Workshop when I return home. It has evoked a new facet in my learning character. I don’t need to be led by . . . some authority to progress. Instead of being a sheep, I can be the sheep herder, and prod my writing along in the direction I want it to go."

"I wanted to thank you again for [my son’s] opportunity to be at Simon’s Rock this past couple of weeks. . . . He had lots of stories about his experience and I believe the independence level in a structured environment was beneficial.  He definitely wants to continue his writing in a focused way and has become more determined to pursue his goals and aspirations. He certainly made several close friends in a short amount of time. . . .  Thank you again for your input to his development as a writer and for helping him to stretch and grow toward independence."