Campus welcomes Fitchburg High honors students for writing retreat

February 23, 2024
Students from Fitchburg High in writing lab

Fitchburg State University hosted a dozen Fitchburg High School juniors during their February vacation for a writing retreat on campus.

The students included members of the Fitchburg High Honors Academy, through which they gain special access to their hometown university and its resources.

English teacher Kathleen Hytinen helped organize the excursion. The students, enrolled in Hytinen’s Advanced Placement seminar, came to campus on their personal time to hone their writing skills.

In addition to the time spent refining their own work, the students critiqued their peers’ work and availed themselves of the university’s writing center and its student staff of peer tutors, including Fitchburg High Honors Academy graduates. 

“It’s a great opportunity to get them out of their everyday classroom environment and come together to help each other out,” Hytinen said. “These students are amazing and hardworking, and I’m grateful for how much I’ve seen them grow academically in these last two years.”

The visiting students said their time on campus was helpful.

“It’s been very beneficial for my writing process,” said Carissa Triolo. “It’s good to be in a new environment, and the peer tutors from Fitchburg State were very helpful.” 

Triolo said she plans to major in English when she begins her college career.

Naika Jean, who is interested in studying pre-law or political science in college, also enjoyed the opportunity to focus on her writing during the trip to Fitchburg State. “There’s definitely value in stepping into a new environment,” Jean said.

Asa Oywech said the seminar gave him valuable insights into his approach to writing. “I think this process has been very introspective in how I operate as a writer,” said Oywech, who is also looking at studying English with a minor in international affairs or sociology when he goes to college.

The students said they have enjoyed the Early College courses they have taken at Fitchburg State, through which they are earning college credit while honing their academic skills. They also didn’t balk at coming to campus on what could have been just another week off.

“This is definitely a responsible use of my time,” Oywech said. “It’s better than sleeping in or watching TV.”

The visiting students concluded their visit to campus with lunch in the university’s dining commons.

Fitchburg State and Fitchburg High School first signed the Honors Compact in 2013, an agreement that gives students enrolled at Fitchburg High School’s Honors Academy priority admission to the university as well as access to university courses, facilities and scholarships.

The program was a collaboration between the FHS Honors Academy, Fitchburg State Early College and Dual Enrollment, and the Fitchburg State Honors Program.