SCHS Pen Symposium showcases student research and writing skills

SCHS _Pen_Symposium

2018 Pen Symposium Main Stage Speakers - Top Row from Left to Right: Jaylon Jacobs, Blayne Adams, Noelle Matthews, Maliyah Johnson, Tianna Smith, Natalia Andrade, Marilyn Quach, and Kiyah Smith. Bottom Row from Left to Right: Dan Minteer and Nathaniel Haynes. 

Summer Creek High School juniors prepare to implement positive changes at their school during the 3
rd Annual Pen Symposium. The Pen Symposium is an annual student-led conference hosted by the Summer Creek High School Social Outreach Society (SOS) and AP English Language and Composition and English III American Literature teachers. At the beginning of the school year junior students enrolled in either English class were tasked with answering the following questions:

“What is the rhythm of the current “cypher?”

“How can we learn from it, and add our own voices to the conversation in meaningful ways?”


“Cypher” is a hip-hop term used to describe rap artists continuing a rhyme to a common beat. The students continued the conversation on restorative justice in a similar fashion.


Through research, writing, argumentation, and rhetoric the students arrived prepared for student-led Socratic style discussions during the event. Breakout session topics included Education and School Culture, Pop Culture, Political Ethics, Spoken Word, Social Justice and Peaceful Protest, Gender Identity and Equality, and Human Development.

During the Pen Symposium, ten of those students were given the opportunity to showcase their research and writing to argue their final proposals in a three to five-minute TED-style talk or Slam Poetry format to compete for a leadership role in the school’s Social Outreach Society (SOS). Maliyah Johnson, Summer Creek High School sophomore, made history as the first sophomore chosen to present on the main stage.


At the end of the event, Daniel Minteer and Jaylon Jacobs were named 2018 Pen Symposium Leaders. Both students won a $300 scholarship and will lead the Social Outreach Society in continuing to implement restorative discipline at Summer Creek High School.

The Pen Symposium will continue to serve as a way for students to take part in serving as student leaders and creating a positive culture at Summer Creek High School.