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home : news : news December 17, 2014

11/22/2012 6:03:00 PM
Dodgeville natives are published in UWP writing anthology
Jean Berns Jones
Features/News

Two Dodgeville residents who are now sophomores at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville were selected to have their essays published in Stylus: An Anthology of Freshman Writing.
Stylus, a required text for freshmen, is published by the UWP English program and Writing Center. It is used to showcase exceptional writing from previous students and as a practical teaching tool in English composition courses.
The students - Alana Helin and Tony Weier - were both first year students at UWP last year, and they used a previous publication of Stylus as a reference book in their own freshmen English composition classes.
The essays written by Tony and Alana were nominated by their teachers for inclusion in the book. In the four years that the text was published, there have been over 1,000 student essay submissions and only about 35 were chosen for publication each year.
Tony, the son of Mark and Sarah Weier; and Alana, the daughter of Art and Michelle Helin, are both academic products of St. Joseph's School and the Dodgeville School System.
"I was glad to see that Tony got in the book, too," Alana said. "The two of us been together all the way through school since we started pre-school."
Tony's assignment was to write an essay showing the extended definition of a word, phrase, or concept where the definition is either subjective or in flux. He titled the essay, "Milk It for All It's Worth," and explored the evolving meanings of the word, "milked."
Tony, who grew up on a dairy farm and has an Animal Science major, says he stumbled upon the multiple definitions of the word while he was doing research for the essay.
"...The term still describes the process of taking milk from a cow, though people who do not have an agricultural background use the word milked in ways that differ from its original meaning," he wrote.
The word has come to also mean draining money from someone, taking advantage of a situation or person, over-extending a situation, and other meanings. In addition, there are slang forms of the word relating to illegal activity.
"Milked, like most words, will not stop at these definitions; it will keep on evolving and changing unless the word is removed from daily language," Tony's essay concludes.
Through the assignment he learned that, "Almost every word in the English language has an official definition by the Oxford English Dictionary, and then at least two or three definitions by the Urban Dictionary."
Tony feels especially honored to be selected for Stylus since he is "not really a person who likes to write," he admits. He credits the Writing Center on campus for helping him with several rewrites and preparation of the essay leading up to the final draft.
Alana, an Environmental Engineering major, was assigned to write an analysis based on the close reading of a text. She was given several works to choose from and decided to analyze "Home Burial," a poem by Robert Frost. It is a dramatic dialogue in blank verse about a conflict that reveals the psychological state of a grieving husband and wife who have lost their child.
Through her close analysis of the dialogue, Alana interprets the couple's interactions, emotions, and relationship. She concludes that the difference in the way the two mourn their child's death uncovers irreconcilable problems in their marriage. Their inability to communicate has brought their marriage to the breaking point.
"The feelings in this poem -- sadness and anger -- are still relevant today," Alana said. "This man was trying to be there for his wife and to understand her feelings, but he was conflicted because men were supposed to be manly and not show emotion. We don't judge men quite as harshly today."
As for being selected to be in the anthology, "It was pretty exciting," Alana said. "Meeting and working with the editors definitely helped my writing. The whole process helped my ability to analyze and express things better."
"A lot of classes I took in elementary and high school probably prepared me for this," she added. "This kind of feels like recognition for all the effort that was put into writing during our school years."
English professors who use student anthologies such as Stylus report that students find reading essays done by peers to be less intimidating than using professional examples of writing. The freshman anthology is proving to be an effective way to help students understand the requirements of their upcoming assignments.
Tony agrees that he found Stylus to be a useful resource in his own composition classes. "It helped to see examples that were written by other freshman," he said.
He and Alana hope the examples written by he and Alana will help this year's freshmen, as well.




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