Preface by Amy Hodges Hamilton
The 2004-2005 edition of Our Own Words offers students at Florida State University a resource for their work in First-Year Composition (FYC). It contains advice from teachers and former students on ways to succeed in FYC courses, as well as showcases some of the best essays from First-Year Composition courses. All of the student-authored writing come from the 2004-2005 submissions for the English Department's James A. McCrimmon Award.
The English Department presents the annual McCrimmon award to the author of the top piece of writing written in a FYC class during the preceding year. Every teacher is encouraged to submit one piece of writing from his or her FYC classes, but allowed only one paper per class. From the submissions, a committee of Teaching Assistants selects the outstanding piece of writing for the year through a blind review process.
Every essay submitted for an award would make a valuable contribution to Our Own Words, but we need to keep the guide relatively short. The student-authored work you'll find in this edition of Our Own Words is that which made it through the first set of blind readings in the McCrimmon Award selection process. You'll notice that some of the work is accompanied by assignment sheets, process memos and early drafts – all materials included for consideration in the award review process. These materials reflect the processes that the authors followed to develop their work. I have done very little editing myself. I tried to retain the authors' choices of fonts, style, and spacing between paragraphs and sections. I didn't touch any of the content and left all the typos in – even in the final drafts. I did, however, eliminate double line spacing in order to save space. Also – I added the bolded page headings at the top of each page so that it'd be easy to figure out where you are in the anthology.
The 2004-2005 edition of Our Own Words would like to thank all of the FYC teachers who encouraged their students to write well, and then submitted the very best work from their classes. The members of the 2004 McCrimmon Committee deserve a heartfelt thanks, too, for donating their time to thoughtfully read and rank the submissions several times throughout the award selection process. I appreciate all of your dedication and expertise very much.
A round of applause and many, many thanks goes to the student writers featured in this year's anthology for working so hard in their classes and for giving us permission to showcase their work: . Their work can be mined for examples and for inspiration to future FYC students.
We hope you enjoy the guide and find it useful. We'd welcome feedback so we can continue to improve it. Send your comments to the First Year Composition Program via your teacher, or to Dr. Deborah Coxwell Teague, Director of First Year Composition, in 222-E Williams.