High School Writing Conference

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Your donation could help bring a student to a college campus for the first time and open up a world of possibilities. 

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The 2018 High School Writing Conference will be held on December 7th. Registration will open on October 15th.

What: A day spent writing with peers and getting acquainted with Missouri State University. Hear from the President of MSU, eat in a campus cafeteria, get individualized responses to your writing, contribute to an anthology, be entertained by Untamed Tongues, door prizes, and more. 

Cost: $45 per student – includes lunch, MSU notebook and pen, souvenir bag and brochure. Teachers who bring four or more students attend for free and go home with classroom-ready plans for all the sessions.  

Can I come without my teacher? Although we encourage you to attend with your teacher and classmates, it is possible for you to attend alone.  Just indicate that you will be attending on your own on the registration form, and give us your email address so that information can be sent directly to you. You will get detailed information about parking and check-in on December 7. Parking passes are available online. We have lots of volunteers to assist you. It's also Study Day on campus and no classes will be in session; it's a quiet day at MSU. 

What last year's participants said... 
"A perfect balance of fun, work, and inspiration." 
"I liked being on campus and sitting in classrooms." 
"I appreciated the open atmosphere and the freedom to write." 
"I loved the whole shebang!" 


The day begins in Plaster Student Union. Check-in will take place in the PSU theater, on the second floor of PSU, from 8:15 to 8:45. Arrive at 8:15 and be entertained by Untamed Tongues, a performance poetry group.

PARKING BY CAR OR VAN ON CAMPUS: If you paid online for a parking permit, you will receive a printable permit and a campus map by email. Place the permit on your dash and park in any yellow lot. Lot 22 on the south side of Grand is recommended. You will take the underpass and walk directly north to PSU.

You may also park in Bear Park North (43) and take the red or green shuttle. The red shuttle takes you to Carrington just south of PSU; the green shuttle drops you off on the north side of PSU. The third alternative is to park in Bear Park South (38) and take the red shuttle to Carrington.

PARENT DROP-OFF: Enter the campus on Bear Blvd (East Monroe) off of National. Take the first left on Florence and park in metered parking or wait and watch your student walk to PSU which will be to the right next to the bear statue. A volunteer will be waiting at the entrance to watch for and greet students.

BUS PARKING: Buses do not need permits. Buses will enter campus at Bear Blvd (East Monroe) and drop-off students at the second left (MSU busway). Volunteers will be waiting at the drop-off point. Buses proceed to Lots 44, 51, or 52 for parking. Buses will pick up students at 2:30. Three buses, to be assigned, will park on Florence St. north of Bear Blvd. The others will park on Bear Blvd. headed east.


If you are planning on staying in Springfield overnight, there are a few nearby hotel options listed below. 

Hotel Vandivort

University Plaza Hotel 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites 

Photo Likeness Release

Attendance at this conference grants Missouri State University (including, without limitation, the Center for Writing in College, Career, and Community, College of Arts and Letters, and Ozarks Writing Project) permission to use photos and written work from the conference in promotional features for the Writing Project or fundraising materials.

Contact Katie Stinnett at katiestinnett@missouristate.edu to opt out of appearing in photos or sharing student work.  

For parents: As parent/ legal guardian of a participant at the writing conference, I irrevocably consent to and authorize the use by Missouri State University, its officers and employees, ("University") of the his or her image, voice and/or likeness as follows: The University shall have the right to photograph, publish, re-publish, adapt, exhibit, perform, reproduce, edit, modify, make derivative works, distribute, display or otherwise use or reuse the participant's image, voice and/or likeness in connection with any product or service in all markets, media or technology now known or hereafter developed in University's products or services, as long as there is no intent to use the image, voice and/or likeness in a disparaging manner. University may exercise any of these rights itself or through any successors, transferees, licensees, distributors or other parties, commercial or nonprofit. The participant acknowledges receipt of good and valuable consideration in exchange for this Release, which may simply be the opportunity to represent the University in its promotional and advertising materials as described above.

Information for Teachers & Parents

  • December 7 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.
  • Wifi will be available to teachers.
  • By December 5, 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

Select thumbnail to view campus map.

Registration & Payment

Registration will open on October 15th 

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

Review the descriptions in the sessions tab before opening the registration form. The list in the form is abbreviated to include titles only.

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. Submit the number of students plus the teacher's name. It will not be necessary to list the names of all the students. 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.


Our 2018 sessions are being developed, for a taste of what you might see, check out these sessions from last year!

2017 Sessions

Sessions have been designed for writers of all interests, and some of your sessions will be assigned randomly. Please select two sessions that you are especially interested in, and we will make an effort to place you in at least one of your choices.

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.  

Jeddie Bristow

Hayley Werth

Victoria Loslo

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?  

Amanda Shoopman

Brooke Matejka 

Madeline Carasco

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.  

Sofie Kondro

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. 

Amanda Hadlock

Megan Rogers

Madeleine Heberling

Baily Koppelmann

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.  

Sophia Gutierrez

Kara Holland

Jessica Smallwood

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.  

Audra Vanhooser

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! 

Amy Sampson

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. 

Taylor Vinson and Alexis Creamer

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.  

Derek Cook

Joshua Johannes

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

Julie Thomas

Donate - Send Promising Young Writers to Campus

Sponsor a Student Writer

$45 sends a student writer to an all day conference at Missouri State University. 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.

Each year, in a conference for students in grades 5-8 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  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.”


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.

Please contact KatieStinnett@MissouriState.edu for more information.