A Bond of Trust

Students “At Risk”

finelineshandIn 1990, David Martin was the English teacher of an “at-risk” high school class of teens: gang members, kids scarred from brawls, pregnant girls, ex-dropouts, and misfits that no other instructor was willing to teach. Knowing that he could not draw them in with the standard curriculum, he threw out the textbooks and focused the class entirely on their own writing. He had them compose and share ideas from their own personal lives.

Slowly but surely, a bond of trust was forged in this ragtag class. The story reached its climax when he put together selected writings in a four page pamphlet to praise those who were really trying to improve their grades. The students were wowed to find their words in print, and even the most unsocial kid was moved to tears to find his efforts appreciated. Martin continued publishing that four-page pamphlet, and today it now stands as Fine Lines, a quarterly journal for new writers who submit their work from all 50 states and around the world.

This is the Power of Writing.

While you may not be the teacher at the head of a class that seems like an asylum, writing is important, especially to those students who need it the most. Today, I’d like to share with you the opportunity to do for your students what Martin did for his class. Foster their talents by encouraging them to write their best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Then, submit it to Fine Lines. We take works from writers of all levels, from college professor to third-grade poets, from all walks of life, and from all over the world. Let students take a major step to find joy and appreciation in becoming published authors; let them feel recognition for their talents, and let them glimpse who they can become.

We also accept photography and illustrations, our editors are waiting to read and see your work, submission details here.

Check out Mr. Martin’s class and the beginnings here.

 – David Waller, student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha