High School Writing Conference

  • About

  • Register

  • Sessions

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  • Volunteer



Ozarks Writing Project (OWP) invites students in grades 9-12 to the Missouri State University campus for our second annual writing conference for high school students. New this year: a digital space for sharing student work. Missouri State graduate students will be responding to student work during lunchtime.


Our purposes:

  • Allow students to write with enthusiastic, motivated and talented peers
  • Introduce students to Missouri State University and its campus
  • Share lesson materials with teacher sponsors


December 8, 2017. Check-in begins at 8:15; conference ends at 2:30.


Conference begins with an opening session in the theater in Plaster Student Union. This session is open to the public. Breakout sessions will be held in Siceluff Hall. Lunch will be in Blair-Shannon Hall. All buildings are in close proximity.


One day yellow lot parking passes for student drivers and teachers can be purchased on the registration tab. Bus parking is free. Check this page beginning December 1 for complete instructions on dropping off students and parking.


Attendance at this conference grants the Ozarks Writing Project permission to use photos and written work from the conference in promotional features for the Writing Project. Review the Likeness Release Form. Contact Colleen Appel at Appel7208@missouristate.edu to opt out of appearing in photos or sharing student work.


* December 8 is Study Day--no classes are scheduled, meaning few students will be on campus.
* Follow your district's policy regarding the required number of teacher chaperones. You will not have to accompany your students all day long; there will be plenty of supervision. Teachers generally check-in with their students at lunch time.
* Teachers are encouraged to participate in sessions. A session just for teachers will be offered. Session materials will be made available online following the conference.
* Wi-fi will be available to teachers.
* By December 4, you will have received student schedules, parking and drop-off information, and any additional information necessary to support a productive day.
* Like Ozarks Writing Project on Facebook for updates on presenters and sessions. #OWP_YourStory
* See the Donate tab for information you can share with potential donors in your community. 


For more information, contact Colleen Appel at Appel7208@missouristate.edu


Campus Map Thumbnail

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Student registration is $45. Teachers who bring four or more students attend for free. Lunch in Blair-Shannon (cafeteria style) is included in the registration fee. Students will also receive a notebook, pen, and souvenir bag.

Please register by November 17.

Parking passes for teachers and student drivers are available below for $3. Buses park for free.

There are two ways to handle payment:

One, students register online and give teachers their payments. Teachers collect all payments and then pay by credit card, eCheck, or purchase order, using the payment button below. Teachers paying by PO will receive an immediate invoice from Katie Stinnett (KatieStinnett@MissouriState.edu). This method works well in schools where a portion of the payment comes from other sources. This is our preferred method; it doesn't require that we do the cross-checking between registration and payment. Colleen can easily provide teachers with a list of who registered online.

Two, students may complete the registration and payment process entirely by themselves, using the buttons below. Students will be asked for the name of a supervising teacher. This will be the teacher who receives student schedules and event information; it is generally the teacher chaperone. Students who attend independently--without a school chaperone--will be asked to provide an email address where information may be sent. Students can pay with a credit card or eCheck. 

Student Registration                 Teacher Registration                   Payment


2017 Sessions

A Completely Made Up Story - Create a story, complete with memorable characters, the problem that challenges them, and how they confront it.   Learn how start with your own ideas and turn those ideas into your own fabulous, fictional tale.  

The Evolution of My Thinking - Find your personal connection in a prompt designed to make you think about your thinking. How do beliefs grow and change over time?  

Fanfiction - When you are a fan of a book or series, it may be hard to reach the end. With fanfiction, it doesn’t have to be over. Session is led by a fanfiction fanatic.  

Insight Garden - Use objects , pieces of literature, and your life experiences to develop a piece of writing. In essence, you will be asked to have a conversation with yourself about where else you've encountered these artifacts and how you can further develop your thinking about them. 

Justice League - Writing to Save Your World - The current state of our nation requires all people, no matter the age, to stand up for what they believe in. Increase the impact of your words by weaving them with the words of a powerful song of protest.  

Leadership Writing - Do you want to have a positive impact on those around you? What about creating an impact on your school, your community, or even the world? Explore how to be a leader through writing, specifically through online outlets such as social media, websites, and blogs.  

Let One Go - Parody writing, the most fun type of writing! We will read and watch some parodies and then write our own to share. Let's make fun of things! 

Poetry Speaks - Performance poets from MSU will be your instructors. They will provide the prompts, give you performance tips, and give you a chance to shine. 

Science and Story - Observe phenomena from the natural world; then convey your impressions with a paragraph, poem, or song. This session is led by a scientist who loves to write. 

Take a Stand: Make a Statement - The complex world you're inheriting will require innovative, thoughtful solutions. Learn to confront problems with possibilities.  

A Tribute to the Person Who Taught Me Something - Honor someone important in your life or remember someone special.  

Writing Marathon -  Set yourself free to write in several campus locations under the supervision of an experienced marathon leader.  



High School Writing Conference

Give promising young writers from rural districts in southern Missouri their first exposure to MSU by sponsoring their attendance at the annual writing conferences hosted by the Center for Writing in College, Career and Community.

Each year, in a conference for middle-schoolers held in May and one for high school students held in December, Ozarks Writing Project brings upwards of 700 students to campus to write under the guidance of talented teacher-writers who want to share their love of writing. Participants gather for an opening session in Plaster Student Union where they are greeted by President Clif Smart. Students attend four sessions that appeal to their interests as writers. To get a taste of campus life, middle school students walk across the campus to Strong Hall for their sessions, and high school students eat in Blair-Shannon Hall.

About last year's a high school conference, a teacher wrote, “My students come from a very poor rural district. For many of them this was their first visit to a college campus. They loved the writing today so much that we had our own open mic in the car on the way home. You all have no idea what this meant to these kids.”

$45 sends a student writer to an all day conference. You can make a tax-free contribution for students in your school by checking the "I would like to make this gift in honor of someone" checkbox and writing "students from ___ School." Your donation goes to the Center for Writing in College, Career, and Community which is the umbrella organization for the Ozarks Writing Project.

Send young writers to campus



Our presenters need your help! You can ensure that 300+ motivated high school students have an amazing writing experience.

Volunteers are needed to do the following:

  • Greet students with a smile.
  • Take attendance.
  • Assist with technology.
  • Support presenters.
  • Connect with students who do not have partners.
  • Give students encouraging feedback.
  • Monitor hallways.
  • Assist with setup and cleanup.
  • Supervise lunch.

Volunteer at Give Pulse.