Paddlestar Galactica, the ping-pong tournament event supporting 826DC’s programs, returns on Saturday, April 27th, 1 PM to 4 PM at SPIN DC! Learn more and sign up here.
News and Events
December 2020

Cataloging Student Writing

Chloe Plefka

My name is Chloe and I am a Communications and Development Intern with 826DC this fall! One of my responsibilities as an intern is to catalog and archive our marvelous student publications.

For ten years now, 826DC has been publishing students in books filled with short stories and personal narratives, recipe and poetry collections, chapbooks of all kinds, and much, much more. Just last week, I was sorting through a collection of Constitutions that students wrote for their own imaginary countries!

Because our students are so prolific, we have a pretty large volume of writing to go through.

Our goal in cataloging is to ensure that every student’s writing is not only read, but also preserved and appreciated over time. Labeling each piece with its genre, its mood, its themes, and general subject matter means that we can look back into our archives and find all relevant student writing about dogs, for example, or that have a bittersweet mood, or that are poems, and so on—not just the pieces that were written recently.

Cataloging student writing is also a wonderful opportunity to engage with pieces. To ensure that each piece of student writing is thoroughly and meaningfully archived, I re-read each piece several times. Each time I read through, I look for something slightly different—reading closely provides me with new insights and appreciation.

Often, in a single publication, a student will have written several pieces, with different mood, themes, and topics, showcasing an incredible amount of range. I’ve read student writing that ranges from short, silly poems, to long-form pieces about family and heartbreak, to expressions of love and youth, and more. 

It has been so wonderful for me to step into the shoes of our young authors and see the world through their eyes. Our students’ writing makes me laugh, cry, question, and reflect. It inspires, entertains, and informs me. 

If you’d like, you can check out one of my (many) favorite pieces so far, “Leighton 2,” here on the 826DC writing gallery, or purchase one of my favorite books, “The Weight of the Day Surrounds My Body,” here on our online store.

If you’re interested in gaining experience in education, communications, or nonprofit development while helping students make magic with writing, you might also consider becoming an intern with 826DC! You can find out more about our internship opportunities here.