My Alma Mater Breaks Ground with Poetry

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012

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Truly incredible teachers sometimes seem hard to come by. At least for me, they did. I always admired and respected those who broke away from the norm. Those who challenged me. Who made me think. I didn't want to do anything for teachers who seemed like they didn't want to do anything for me. 


A teacher should have the same drive as writers. They shouldn't teach because they want to, they should do it because they have to. They should have that drive and urge to foster true education and exploration.

I had some great teachers at Tunkhannock high school. I can still remember some lessons they taught like they were yesterday. That was (almost) ten years ago. Time has passed. But one thing hasn't changed. There are still incredible teachers back in my hometown doing things I never thought would be done in Tunkhannock.

Katie Wisnosky, who I had the pleasure of hearing read some of her own work at the last Prose in Pubs event in Scranton, teaches in the English department at Tunkhannock area high school. And of all things for her to bring to Tunkhannock, she's brought poetry. If you know Tunkhannock, poetry is probably the last thing you'd associate the town with. And that's exactly why it needs to be there.

Katie has started a group called the "Breaking Ground Poets", a rather appropriate name considering the booming business of drilling in the area and Katie's determination to build such a group where others would find even the idea daunting. Katie describes the groups in her own words:

The Breaking Ground Poets’ mission is to inspire, foster, and promote artistic expression, personal growth, and social justice for youth in our collective communities through the use of the spoken and written word.
Our goal is to engage young people in workshops, events, and mentorship across Northeast Pennsylvania.
Although we are a new organization, our goal this year is to develop and foster young people’s capacity in creative writing, public speaking, emotional literacy, and civic engagement. We will use the transformative power of storytelling and each individual’s voice to help build a stronger community of teenage writers.

Katie has recently launched a campaign to bring Lauren Zuniga, a nationally touring poet and activist, to Tunkhannock area high school for a day of workshops followed by a poetry slam featuring the students. 

It's been ten years since I've walked the halls of Tunkhannock high and in those ten years the town and surrounding area has gone through major changes. Some good, some bad. But here is a change that I can only describe as incredibly inspiring. I only wish I could be back in school to experience it. Luckily I've been invited to participate.

Needless to say, Katie's idea comes with a cost and she's set up a fundraising site at indiegogo.com which you can find here


This is an incredible opportunity for the students at Tunkhannock high. In a country where the arts are being left behind in our educational system, funding projects like this is absolutely essential to our youth. It's uplifting to see educators who will go beyond what their job requires of them on paper and truly reach for higher goals. To feed the creative minds of youth. 

I'm hoping that the Breaking Ground Poets can reach their goal and I'm going to do everything in my power to make that happen. So, if you can, please donate to the cause. If you cannot, please spread the word. It costs nothing to pass on information. 

Thanks to everyone out there who helps in any way.

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Donate and spread the word: http://www.indiegogo.com/breakinggroundpoets

Lauren Zuniga's site: http://laurenzuniga.com/