Many of us take pride in our alma maters, including our high schools and colleges, and even our sleep away and day camps. “Be true to your school” is a slogan many people take to heart, Writers can work with that idea, carving out opportunities for writing, and add depth to their writing platforms and resumes.
I graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York, a large public high school with a solid reputation. My daughters currently attend the school, too. Thus, as a family, we are big boosters for “ERMHS.” I decided to find outlets for writing about special events taking place at the school, primarily for my own freelance career, and to promote the school in a good way. I have reached out to local, citywide, and national publications and websites with story ideas about the school. I wrote two stories about the school’s annual SING varsity shows for a site called Bklyner, and for the Brooklyn Eagle. I also wrote about the school hosting part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt for the news and commentary site Liberal America.
I helped out with the student newspaper, the Murrow Network, when there was a local issue I hoped to promote interest in. I was concerned about the preservation of the historic Vitagraph smokestack tower, located a block away from the school. The journalism teacher assigned a student to interview me about the importance of the Vitagraph tower (a remnant of a pioneering film company). The student got an intriguing news story, and we both helped raise awareness of the tower, which is now being saved.
I have also worked with my college alumni magazine to my benefit as a writer. For five years, I wrote my class’s news column for the Barnard Magazine, a quarterly publication. This was early in my post-college years, and I used those columns as samples of my writing for reference. Years later, I sent in sample copies of my four non-fiction books, to be listed in the magazine column about recently published books and other projects by alumni. Thus, the magazine was a way for me to publicize my work as an author.
I also sent copies of my books to the Brooklyn College Magazine, an alumni publication sent to those who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees there. I earned my Masters there and that magazine also publicizes graduates’ achievements.
Alumni magazines and newspapers are a good way to showcase books you’ve penned and other written endeavors. It is also quite satisfying to write about the positive and special things happening at my former schools. I hope to do so in the future as well.
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Ellen Levitt is a lifelong Brooklyn resident, teacher and writer. She has T-shirts and sweatshirts from each of her schools.
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