Sarah Pazen - Media Arts '18

“When I really started to fall in love with writing, I felt like I had no way of looking at a poem I wrote and saying ‘Okay, this is a first draft, but how do I improve it?’ When I played a sharp or flat note on my viola, I felt like I knew how to fix it on my own, but not until I went to The Academy did I feel like I could really study the form or creative writing, in addition to authors and poets that have become extremely influential to me.”

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Congratulations to Media Arts Department senior Sarah Pazen who will be heading to Kenyon College in the fall to continue studying Spanish and creative writing, with the goal of translating Spanish literary works in the future. Sarah said she feels as though she has had the opportunity to combine her two interests at The Academy, poetry and translation.

“My time at The Academy has really prepared me for the future because I've been able to fully pursue my art and delve into creative writing at a young age. I've studied it analytically and improved my own writing, whereas at another school I probably would even be struggling to fully go in-depth with my love of Spanish. This is the only place I have found that offers creative writing like this at a high school age. There is no attention paid to it in most other schools. They might have one creative writing class where you read Walt Whitman, if you're lucky, and maybe you'll hear the name Billy Collins mentioned. But it's really just an elective.”

Sarah applied to 13 different schools, but ultimately decided on her longtime English teacher Nick Roux’s alma mater. Sarah has enjoyed studying the “academic art form” in the creative writing focus of the Media Arts Department.

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“The creative writing program at The Academy is where you see the most interlap between the academic and arts portion of the day. I'm not rehearsing — I'm in lecture, in structured classes. In addition to my creative pieces, I have more essays in my arts classes than English and history classes. But there is a misconception that creative writing is a direct continuation of academics. Creative writing is an art. It's not part of academics. It’s easy to debate why you got a ‘C’ on a free-verse poem, because the form itself is subjective.”

Sarah had some advice for incoming freshmen about balancing academics and arts.

“Be as grateful to be in your academic classes as you are to be in your arts classes. You might lean towards your artwork but your academic work is equally important. I think there are some kids who misunderstand that, and who see this as kind of an escape from the public school system of 'homework always matters'. Homework does matter here. And so as someone that has gone to a large public school in a class of over 1500 kids, to a school where my grade is a class 40, I’ve realized that this kind of education is really hard to find. It just unfortunately doesn't exist at other schools, and I’m very lucky to have found somewhere like The Academy.”

Good luck next year in Ohio, Sarah!