Short Story Coffee House 1

LA English teacher Patti Sims gives a pep talk to her honors ninth grade English Classes before they read their short stories allowed at the Bard’s Short Story Coffee House in the LA Dining Commons.

By Scott Petersen ’21 and Camden LeBel ’21

On Thursday, March 22nd, Lincoln Academy’s English department showcased their Freshman honors students’ writing at the 6th Annual Bard House. Throughout the night, every student in Sims’ class bravely read an excerpt of his/her short story to the audience, albeit two students that were chosen by their classmates to read their full story. “It was great!” said Quinn Hunold, who read an excerpt of her story “Look Alikes.”

Every student’s experience was different, but overall, “I very much enjoyed listening to the amazing short stories read by their authors at the coffee house. What a great presentation!” says Lynda Petersen, an attendee.

The student Masters of Ceremony, Riley Stevenson and Zev Cunningham, used jokes to connect with the audience and prepare them for what they were about to hear. The entire event flowed as smoothly as the Honors English teacher, Patti Sims, had envisioned.

Masters of Ceremony Zev Cunningham and Riley Stevenson introduce their classmates at the Bard’s Short Story Coffee House and Lincoln Academy.

“Every year I am amazed by the wonderful creative minds and am humbled by the writing prowess of the students,” said Sims. “It is not fair to keep this talent to myself, so the Bard House: Short Story Coffee Hour is the best way to showcase my students’ talents to the school and the town communities. I am impressed how the students come together to not only perform their pieces but actually produce the entire evening. Initially, my role is to only orchestrate and oversee, then step back with pride and watch the whole evening effloresce in front of my eyes. It is personally rewarding and fulfilling on multiple levels to work with a group of talented teens and then share the uplifting experience during this edifying Coffee House.”

At the Coffee House, snacks, treats, and hot drinks were provided, thanks to the food committee (and food chair Isabelle Manahan). During intermission and at the end of the event, listeners had the chance to talk to the young writers and ask questions about their stories.

Honora Boothby’s story xxx was one of the featured full-length stories at the Coffee House.

According to Tori Harris, reading to the audience was scary, but worth the effort that had been put into getting the event ready. “It WAS nerve wracking- I think everyone was nervous. But, once you got up there, everything was good.”

The students all had to work together on different committees to prepare for the big night. Cooperation and teamwork were necessary to set up the complicated event, and the students learned many useful planning and leadership skills along the way. The setup was headed by Colin Whitney and the breakdown committee headed by Os Karas, and the invitation design was led by Megan Rose, the program by Becca Lambert, and banner design created and executed by Honora Boothby. All of these committees worked together for the finished product.

The event took place in the Lincoln Academy Dining Commons, which was decorated with lights along with other eye-catching decorations. The setting of the event was casual, and audience members had the chance to relax and unwind after a long day, listening to some stories told by students. Every story was very different. Some sample titles include “For You,” by Becca Lambert, which is about a Canadian hockey player and his struggle with fame and the spotlight; “A Killer First Date” by Brooke Telfer, which talks about how a seemingly innocent date could go terribly wrong; and “Rocks and Rain” by Riley Stevenson, which is about a hectic morning before school.

Becca Lambert read her entire story, “For You” to close the Coffee House event.

All of the stories were structured using the knowledge the students had learned in class with Mrs. Sims. Students were challenged to analyze difficult short story material and use those writings as inspiration for their own stories. “I enjoyed writing writing my story, but it was harder than I thought,” said Jewel Farrin. Students learned about setting, character, tone and mood, and more writing elements and techniques in class. Students’ learning during the school day translated into their writing for the Coffee House.

“It was inspiring to see young adults that were passionate in writing,” said Brooke Telfer, summing up the night quite well.

Scott Petersen and Camden LeBel are students in Ms. Sims’ Ninth Grade Honors English Class at Lincoln Academy, and the designated reporters on the Bard’s Coffee House.

Camden LeBel

Scott Petersen

Scott Petersen