Windmill Initiative Highlights Student Writing

Over the past few weeks, many Dimond sophomores had taken part in an in-class and long-standing writing competition held by one of Dimond’s Honors English teachers, Marcus Reese.

For Reese’s competition, students were asked to construct a developed piece of short fiction that embodied themes such as recurring symbolism.

As the main figure behind the competition, Reese was willing to talk about his experiences with it over the years.

“I’ve been doing a short story competition for the past ten years,” Reese said. “but it’s only gone by the name The Windmill Initiative for roughly the past six years.”

Reese mentioned that one of the best aspects of holding the competition is that students were allowed to become better readers and writers through their participation.

Reese said, “Over time, there have only a few minor tweaks to the competition itself, such as page limit or what students could write about; other than that, the competition at its core, remained the same.”

Another enjoyable attribute of the competition is that, according to Reese, “I appreciate the work that is needed to write these pieces.”

What Reese has learned about his students over the years was, “The fact that students are able to see how amazing the people that they see every day are through their writing.”

On a more serious note, Reese believes that, “Writing fiction matters,” as students deal with issues that they face in the modern world.

Through the competition, Reese has seen students address such issues in a clever way, and sees this as another positive aspect of the Windmill Initiative.

Concerning the Initiative’s origins, the first few years Reese had assigned the contest, he had began with the intent that the students would write for the teacher, but later down the road, Reese thought that it would be important for other students to expand their knowledge, and eventually made the competition nearly student-led.

Reese mentioned that he based the real underlying cause behind the Windmill Initiative was the, “Pursuit of the Heroic.”

“I based it somewhat off of Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, in which the main character sets off on this quest to slay dragons,” Reese said, “but as he got closer to what he thought were the dragons, it turned out that his objectives were just windmills.”

Reese believes that through the competition, students would rise to the challenge and either, “Slay some dragons, or chase a few windmills.”

From this, Reese believes that his students are able to create amazing works of fiction that he never knew that they could do, or some could fall short in their attempts, but nevertheless tried their best.

Dimond Sophomore, Lowell Giron gave a quick word on his experience with the contest.

“I enjoyed being able to write in a way that I’m not used to, and the freedom to write about what I want to write about really gave me a good mindset while I wrote my story,” Giron said.

Giron said, “As a class story winner, the feeling of being recognized by those around me really gave me confidence to put my writing out there.”