Back to My Roots: How Keeping Up With My Old School Scored Me Writing Opportunities! – By Ellen Levitt

Back to My Roots: How Keeping Up With My Old School Scored Me Writing Opportunities! – By Ellen Levitt

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.


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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