Preface: Reading Our Own Words -- Dustin Anderson


The 2005-2006 edition of Our Own Words offers students at Florida State University a resource for their work in First-Year Writing (FYW). It contains advice from teachers and former students on ways to succeed in FYW courses, as well as showcases some of the best essays from First-Year Writing courses. All of the student-authored writing come from the 2005-2006 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 FYW class during the preceding year. Every teacher is encouraged to submit one piece of writing from his or her FYW 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 paper submitted for the award would make a valuable contribution to Our Own Words, but the need to keep the guide short required further selection. Several of the essays have been reproduced with early drafts that were included for consideration in the award review and reflect the process that the authors followed to develop their work. You will see links to these in the right-hand column or at the end of each essay's page. You might also click on the "Printer-Friendly" link at the bottom of each page for a plain text version of the essays. Editing has generally been kept to a minimum. For example, the authors’ choices of fonts have been retained, and typos have been left in all drafts. Double line spacing has, however, been eliminated to save space, and page headings have been modified for consistency. 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.
The 2005-2006 edition of Our Own Words would like to thank all of the FYW teachers who encouraged their students to write well, and then submitted the very best work from their classes. The members of the 2005 McCrimmon Committee deserve abundant gratitude as well for reading the submissions and thoughtfully reviewing and the submissions several times throughout the award selection process. I appreciate all of your dedication and expertise very much.
Thanks are due, most of all, to the students who wrote the essays and gave permission for them to be presented in this anthology: James Tooley Jr., Whitney Harris, Keh'ara Kirkland, Catherine Sanders, Christopher Brown, Justen Calvacca, Melody Fallon, Glivery Gayahan, & Lauren Houlberg. The quality of their writing and the effort that went into it provides an example and an inspiration.
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 Writing Program via your teacher, or to Dr. Deborah Coxwell Teague, Director of First Year Writing, in 222-E Williams.