Category: School

Me with Sapphire in Feb 2013.  Photo by Nancy Livingston

Me with Sapphire in Feb 2013. Photo by Nancy Livingston

One of the most wonderful things about life is the pleasant surprises.  When I started writing for The Century TimesI never dreamed of the extraordinary opportunities that would come my way.  One of those opportunities came when I volunteered to cover Sapphire‘s  visit to Century College.  For those that may not know, Sapphire is the author of Push, which the movie, “Precious” was based on, and more recently, The Kid.  

I couldn’t help but think of what a wonderful experience I was about to embark upon!  When would a college student such as myself get another chance to interview a New York Times National Bestselling Author????  My goal is to have success as a writer, to give others a voice in order to help them, and to be on bookshelves throughout the world.  I couldn’t believe I was going to be able talk to her, as a writer, almost as if we were peers, and gain knowledge from someone who has achieved some of their dreams with their writing.

The event was amazing.  I cannot express in mere words what it was like to listen to Sapphire speak.   It was powerful, riveting, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She started out reading a couple of Jayne Cortez poems.  I had never heard of Jayne Cortez until that day, but I was so moved by her poetry that I have begun to read much more of her work!

She also discussed things most people do not have the courage to talk about.  Things such as child molestation, prison rape, physical abuse, domestic abuse, verbal abuse, sexuality, and HIV.  She told the audience that it was her job as an artist to “refuse to look away.”  Sapphire also acknowledged that her work is harsh, difficult to read, and intense, but she also states that she is “not here to make you feel good.”  She adds humor by saying, “I’m not your massage therapist.”

I learned a lot from attending the event.   She inspired me.  She mentioned that the purpose of her books is to get people to sit up and take action.  It worked.  I have vowed to use my writing for giving others a voice, no matter whose it is or where it comes from.  My writing will not always be “fluff.”  It is my job as a writer and as a human being who cares about others to use my words to help others, to spur others into action.

Next time you read something that appalls you, ask yourself why.  You might be amazed at what you come up with.

My interview with Sapphire was more than I could have asked for.  She was so wonderful and easy to talk to, she was down to earth, and she had a very formidable presence at times.  By formidable, I mean that she had this powerful energy; it draws you in, it makes you want to hear more.  I was in awe of her.  I asked her questions that I was hoping she hadn’t been asked a million times.  We spent about 10 minutes talking and it flowed very well.  I appreciated her candor and the fact that she took time out of her schedule (I know they had her on a tight one!) to answer my questions fully and genuinely.

At the end of my experience, I came away with so much more than I could have ever thought possible.  I learned so much from my time spent at the event and interviewing Sapphire.  It’s something I will take with me for many years to come and I hope others were equally inspired by her visit!

If you are interested in checking out the article I wrote about the event, you can click on this link:


Saving our Newspaper

Image by Renee Cortez

Image by Renee Cortez

Being on my college newspaper has meant more to me than I could have ever imagined.  When I first signed up for the course, I knew it would be fun to write for the newspaper and hone some of my writing skills, but I never would have guessed the kinds of doors it would open for me, not only as a student, but a future writer!  I have been promoted to Art Director of the newspaper within a short period of time, I have met amazing people, I have learned how to interview, and I have found ways to network for my future using the skills taught within the newspaper curriculum.

Today I help fight for a good cause.  We could possibly lose funding for our beloved newspaper.  In effect, all of the students and faculty will lose their voice.  What kind of message does the college want to send if they remove funding and take that voice away???

I cherish the friendships, working relationships, and connections I have built while working on the paper.  It has been a learning experience far beyond anything I could have thought possible.  I fight with my fellow staff members today not only for us, but for future writers who would benefit from being on the newspaper staff.

Thank you to family, friends, staff and students who have supported us thus far.  We couldn’t have done it without you!


Century Times Staff 2013Image by Jorge Vargas

Century Times Staff 2013
Image by Jorge Vargas

I am acting as current Art Director for a college newspaper, The Century Times.  We are currently in danger of losing our funding, and in effect, the school as a whole will lose its voice.  We need all the help we can get from our readers!  Please check out the article below, written by our Editor in Chief, Matthew Hoemke.  It has a lot of good information, including how a person can pitch in and help if they would like!  Any support would mean so much to us and future generations of writers who would benefit from this Journalism program!

Also… you can check out their Facebook page!

Image found at

Mary Tyler Moore Statue which can be found on the Nicollet Mall, Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Image found at

That is not an exaggeration!  I am feeling like the girl who “could turn the world on with her smile,” as of late.  Last week was an amazing whirlwhind of promotion to Art Director of the school newspaper, Spring Play auditions, an interview with a New York Times National Best Selling Author, and many newspaper deadlines and events to cover.  School and career are finally taking off!  I am feeling so very fortunate and I am frequently tempted to pinch myself just to make sure it’s all real!

This week, I found out I got a part, a much better one than I had thought possible, in my school’s Spring Play.  I am over the  moon with excitement.  I haven’t been in a play since I performed The King and I with the Saint Paul Opera Workshop when I was 12.  I have sung on a stage since then, but not acted.  I am so very, very grateful to have the opportunity to learn more from this new experience, to soak in all the information I can from the Director and my peers, and to just have a blast while doing it!

Today I will be participating in a Student Success Day panel showcasing my Honors Project on Anne Boleyn.  I am so thrilled to be asked to do this and I can’t wait to show off my work!  I loved the Anne Boleyn project and am so proud that my British Literature professor recommended me!

Going to travel to Madison, Wisconsin for the very first time right after the Student Success Day panel.  I plan to take a lot of pictures to practice my photography skills for the newspaper.

I just feel like I can’t stop smiling.  I never in a million years thought that when I started school after 20 years and having never been to college that I could do all of these things.  I knew I loved to write.   That was it.  Now… so many changes, so much richness has been added to my life and I feel it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I’m not looking back.  I am moving forward full steam ahead!!!!!!

School, school, school!!!!

bring it

Image found via Google Search

Today I start my fourth semester at Century College.  SO MUCH has happened since starting school in Fall 2011!!!!!  I received an Honors grade in my British Literature class, tutored for a semester as a Peer Tutor, met some INCREDIBLE people with whom I still stay in touch with, talk, get together for lunch, etc, and last semester I became Online Editor for The Century Times Newspaper.  I am returning today as Online Editor for the Newspaper, which I find extremely exciting, and I have also been asked to be a part of a Student Success Day panel to give a presentation on the Honors project I completed for my British Lit class.  So much to look forward to this semester!  I can also say that I am so very excited to be trying out for Mary Zimmerman‘s adaption of the play, Metamorphoses as well!

Going back to school has been the best decision I have ever made.  The only problem?  Wishing Century was a four year instead of a two year college!  I am getting so comfortable there, having such a blast getting to know everyone that I don’t want to leave next year!  I discovered that I after this semester, I won’t have much time left at Century…. time to start thinking about where to get my Bachelor’s Degree!!!!!!!  Another adventure I am VERY much looking forward to!

So, to get the Spring Semester started off right… I have a question for all of you….. what is your favorite college memory… or what is the best thing that has happened to you since starting college?  Please feel free to comment below!  Have a great day!

Picture from George Stuart's Gallery of Historical Figures


It’s been quite a while since I have written anything, so I felt it was high time I did something to change that fact.  This past Fall, I made a life changing decision to go back to school with a focus on my writing and have been enjoying it immensely.  One of the classes I am taking is British Literature.  Can we say, “No brainer?”  I love the class just as much as I thought I would.

My professor talked to the entire class about an Honors Project which is purely optional, but I was immediately intrigued.  After obtaining more information about the requirements, I decided to go for it and my topic would be…. what else?  Anne Boleyn!!!!!!  Keep this in mind:  I had not went on to college after high school, nor have I set foot in a classroom in about 20 years.  I knew I was striving for a lot when I agreed to try for an honors grade in British Literature, but I was confident I would be able to handle it.

As it turns out, the project was just what I needed to validate my feelings towards my skills as a writer, a researcher, and a presenter.  My best friend helped me with the artsy fartsy part of my project, and helped me to create an amazing Power Point presentation, but the rest was ALL ME.

My obsession with England’s most controversial Queen Consort paid off in a big way and all the years I had spent researching the history of her life helped tremendously when putting words to paper.

My professor loved my presentation!!!  He told me it was very well done!  When I later asked him about my chance of getting the Honors part of the grade, he let me know that I have it!!!!  🙂  It’s so exciting!!!!

I have decided to post a few excerpts from my honors research paper during the next few weeks.  I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

%d bloggers like this: