This blog post was written by Bernadette Benjamin, a Girls Write Now Mentee in the Digital Media Mentoring Program. Bernadette served as co-emcee of the 2016 QWERTY Digital Exhibition on June 4. The evening showcased our teen’s groundbreaking work alongside a panel moderated by Ashley C. Ford.
Excited, nervous, I stood on the stage with a mic in hand, beside my mentor, Mel. Looking over the crowd of family, friends, mentors and mentees, I felt a wave of anticipation to see the projects mentees had worked so hard on. I was about to kick-off the amazing QWERTY Digital Exhibition.
In that moment, I reflected on life before Girls Write Now. I would overthink my writing. Never paying attention to story depth or different sentence structure or diction or my purpose, I usually wrote what came to my mind. Girls Write Now and my mentor, Mel gave me something I never received before: hope. Hope in myself. Hope in my future endeavors. Hope in my writing. Especially Mel, who, tirelessly, strove to improve my writing skills. She constantly sought ways to make the most of our sessions by finding techniques and exercises. Every session with her was a learning moment. Now, I feel confident in my writing and creations.
QWERTY was one of the proudest moments of my high school career. An emcee’s responsibility is to energize the crowd by setting the tone for the rest of the event. During QWERTY, I was anxious as I undertook that role but I did my best to encourage positivity and generate excitement for the event by adding my own personal narrative. I was honored to have the privilege of emceeing QWERTY alongside my mentor Mel. Though I shook in my shoes, I was amazed and overwhelmed to look at the strong women who strive to empower and encourage each other to pursue their dreams to be writers: the mentors who partner with their mentees, the panel that led us in conversation that night, Ashley C. Ford, Kayla Conti, Evette Dionne, and Bec Susan Gill, and the mentees who worked tirelessly to perfect their pieces. Being the emcee made me feel a part of this community of women and motivated me to continue writing.