This week's #FeatureFriday highlights Far Hills seventh-grader Josselyn Wolf. Below, Josselyn shares how Far Hills has helped uncover her passion for creative writing, what topics inspire her writing most, and how many teachers have helped foster and grow her writing skills.
Josselyn has had her writing featured many times throughout this year from pieces she wrote during a few writing classes offered at Far Hills this past summer. She submitted a poem that a podcast titled A Moment of Your Time featured. Additionally, Josselyn submitted a piece titled Regala that she wrote during a fantasy writing course. She won and advanced to the National competition with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. National Medalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
Q&A with Josselyn Wolf
How long have you been at FH (grade/age)?
- I have been at Far Hills since Kindergarten when I was six years old.
Why are you passionate about writing?
- I am passionate about writing because, to me, it is an art form. You have the ability to paint a picture in someone's mind and draw emotions and thoughts out of them that make them ponder the meaning of different figments of life. You can take time to find the right words when writing, whereas with talking, what you say is really just what pops into your head and not exactly what you mean. Additionally, I am intrigued by words. Their origins and roots fascinate me; this is why I take Mr. Freeman's Latin class. I am also an actress, and I believe that there is no difference between performing and writing; they both tell a story.
What topics inspire you most to write about?
- Well, that really varies. For example, last spring, we adopted chickens. This had me constantly writing about the near-fatal attempts on their lives and that anxiety. But overall, I think nature, the Earth, life in general, what's happening in the world, and magic inspire me the most for poetry and similar prose; I love to connect two ideas and think about one thing in terms of another. With stories, an idea will come to me, and I'll elaborate. I like to break all of society's norms in my writing and life, for that matter, and shock people.
Would you say that Far Hills has helped uncover your passion for writing?
- Definitely! Far Hills gives me many outlets and spaces to write, straying far from just English classes. I love my teachers; they get me. I am so grateful that they have embraced my creativity and writing fully and always push me to be concise with my answers to avoid following my natural inclination to ramble for pages upon pages.
Discuss how you felt inspired after the writing classes you took this summer at Far Hills to submit a poem to A Moment of Your Time podcast?
- Before Mrs. Young's summer poetry class, I had a misconception that poetry was stringent with an overwhelming amount of rules. However, Mrs. Young's poetry course completely changed my mind. She showed me that poetry was just a blank canvas to express whatever I wanted, no similes or metaphors required. It was fabulous to have her direction and have that nudge and time to sit down and create. In the fall, my mother (I call her mum) and I saw A Moment of Your Time, a really neat podcast I would encourage everyone to check out on Actor's Access, a submission space for actors. It was one of three or four auditions that I had that unusually busy weekend, and I almost didn't even submit, but, of course, the one that I had almost skipped was the one that chose me. I actually wrote the poem I ended up submitting, Seasons, during one of Mrs. Young's classes.
What opportunities have you taken advantage of to strengthen and grow your writing skills throughout your time at FH? For example, writing classes over the summer, etc.
- Throughout the year, there are countless writing assignments. I always try my hardest with these, but I also took two optional fun online writing classes over the summer with Far Hills. One was a fantasy story, a.k.a. my heaven course, while the other was a poetry course, which you heard about above. My mum pushed me to do them, even though I was a bit reluctant with the fantasy course because I was a grade older than the limit and with what I thought was a "strict" poetry course, which of course, was incorrect. Sometimes, a teacher will suggest I submit for something, and I always try my best to seize those opportunities.
How excited you are to find out the results on March 17 for the National competition with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
- Ha! I am definitely excited, but I also know that there are many spectacular stories and spectacular writers across the U.S., and I am humbled to have had my story chosen in the Northeast. Regala for life!
Do you have any upcoming writing pieces you are submitting for feature or inclusion anywhere? Collectors' Items?
- I do not currently have any upcoming pieces that I'm submitting for inclusion, but I'm always on the lookout. Right now, I am just planning on reading and storytelling much more with Spring Break coming up and the extra time that it holds. I've been working on a pet play, so if you see my cats on HBO Max or Disney+, know that they didn't just get there by themselves!
How have your English teachers here at FH helped improve your writing skills and taught you to write creatively? (Feel free to write a sentence or two for each specific teacher that you feel has significantly helped your growth in writing.)
- My English teachers have significantly impacted my writing skills. Ms. K, my fourth and fifth grade English teacher, was constantly inspiring me with her kindness. Ms. Seelaus, my English teacher from sixth grade up to this point, has given me space to work creatively (she ran the Fantasy Writing class) and always answered my grammar questions. You heard about Mrs. Young's effect on how I see poetry, and my History teacher, Mr. Kramer, is necessarily coercing me to shorten my writing. All of them make me feel like a rockstar and are continuously improving my skills. I love all of my teachers immensely and am thrilled that they have shaped my writing and touched my life. I will never forget Far Hills and the influence it has had on my early life.