Neshaminy offers new creative writing class


Grace Marion

Chris DiCicco contemplates lesson plans in his office.

Up until last year, there was a class at Neshaminy High School called Journalism/Creative Writing, which was taught by Tara Huber. In class, students wrote in both creative and journalistic styles throughout the year. Every journalistic article a student wrote was considered for publication in The Playwickian, the school’s newspaper, and the student could submit any creative pieces they wrote to Howler, the school’s literary magazine.

However, last school year, a group of teachers and administrators came to the conclusion that it did not make sense for journalism and creative writing to be combined into a single class. For that reason, the journalism/creative writing class was split into two separate classes with completely different syllabi; they are creative writing and journalism.

“Imagine taking one of your other classes and marrying to another class; it just really limits what you can do,” said Christopher DiCicco, English Department Chair, who teaches all four sections of creative writing. DiCicco has a long history in creative writing. It is his main passion in English, so as soon as he heard about the splitting of journalism and creative writing, he offered to teach the creative writing classes.

Throughout the year in creative writing class, students will write a variety of pieces in a variety of genres. Students will learn about the creative writing process, flash fiction, short stories, novels, poetry, screenwriting, writing for children, and memoirs. DiCicco stated that he would love to spend the whole year on just fiction—if he did not think it would bore the students.So far, the students enrolled in his classes seem to be really enjoying it and learning a lot. “Mr. DiCicco is really good at engaging the class with humor, but he’s also really good at explaining various writing techniques,” said Eda Hopkins, a sophomore in DiCicco’s creative writing class.

DiCicco himself is impressed with how involved the students are getting in the class. “I’m really, really pleased with how the kids seem to be excited to come to class. I think I’m showing them worthwhile material, and I think they are responding to that,” he said.

Throughout the year, DiCicco is also going to push the students to try to publish their works, both in Howler and possibly some college magazines. He wants the students to branch out to different magazines, especially the ones that want to start building a writing portfolio for their future.

According to DiCicco, being able to write well is always a valued skill, and the creative writing class is a great way to learn that. “There’s this misconception that creative writing is just when you write about your feelings and stuff like that,” said DiCicco, “and as many creative writers have said, you can make it look natural, but don’t be ashamed that you’ve learned a lot.”

“So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds” is a collection of short stories by Christopher DiCicco.