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Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Horner, Teen Scribe, has become a nationally recognized young writer and speaker who has helped youth in her community visit new worlds and learn the power of the written word through her “Read to Succeed” program.

Notes on a Horner speech to “Circle of Empowered Women”
Skokie, Ill.
March 4, 2011

“Recently, we witnessed people power at play in the streets of Cairo. I hope that with the changes in government in Egypt comes increased respect for basic human rights including those of women,” Elizabeth Horner commented.

This eleventh grade student of Greenville Senior High was one of four guest speakers and the only youth to speak at the celebration of “International Women History Month” in Skokie, IL. Invited by the group “Circle of Empowered Women” Horner expressed her thoughts about how self-expression can be empowering.

She cited in her speech how the voices of great historians, philosophers, poets, and novelists serving as ambassadors of their time periods shaped the views of the past and give the youth of today crucial insights into their beliefs and culture...which is an “awesome power... to affect future generations’ way of thinking or looking at things.... Their work may amuse, enlighten, or frighten us---but their words are POTENT!”

In Horner’s speech, she talked about why she strongly believes in cultivating proficiency in self-expression through writing and oral communication. She also said that reading is an important part of that learning... “reading, writing, and oral communication all go together in building one’s communication skills”.

“How many of us have been moved by a convincing piece of literature? A great speech? A well written essay --- they can be the most persuasive things in the world, empowering its writer and his or her audience to make a difference in their community.”

“I do not know how far my own passion for the written word would have gone without the interest and support lent me by my parents, my school, and Mr. Bob Robinson.”

“I do not know how far my own passion for the written word would have gone without the interest and support of people like Ms. Jelly Carandang, Princess Kiram, Dr. Vilma Helms, and Ms. Elaine Bailey.”

Horner talked about Ms. Elaine Bailey who introduced her to the program called “Power of the Pen” and the newly formed Greenville City Schools creative writing team who started to meet in October 2010. Horner wanted to share what she has learned so far about creative writing with these 7th and 8th graders of Greenville Junior High.

“In my own personal journey I learned a few things and methods to enhance my writing skills. While coaching the Greenville Junior High’s Power of the Pen team, I am testing out some of those ideas.”

Three members of the Greenville Creative Writing Team, Christal Smith (who took the overall third place trophy in the district competition and won one of the “Best of Round Awards”), Leslie Logan and Sammy Lobenstein qualified and will compete at the regionals on March 26.

“I believe that everybody’s born with the ability to communicate one’s views about the world through simple speech, humor, poetic    rhetoric, etc. Sometimes it takes a little push to get a person to channel those skills onto paper through mentoring, validating statements, and prompting students into finding their own voices.”

Horner described how “good communication is basic requisite of life that can be very powerful tool” which she hopes young people will have many opportunities to build and use to serve their community and the greater good.

Horner thanks the Daily Advocate, Darke Journal, The Early Bird, and the new County News Online and Senior Scribes for giving our youth opportunities for their voices to be heard.

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