Stacey Cassady spent much of the last decade mentoring Valparaiso University writing students. Her experience is now paying dividends for Marquette Catholic High School students during the school day. With the launch of a Writing Center on campus, her efforts will extend partially into the evening.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm inside the Scholl Center Library, Cassady will provide writing support for students across any discipline.
"It's a benefit that Chelsea Wagenaar, my former - and again current - colleague, was the director of the Writing Center at Valparaiso University. We noticed an opportunity to do something similar for our students here," Cassady said.
In her second semester as an upper-level English instructor at Marquette, Cassady arrived on 10th Street after seven years at VU. Beginning in 2012, she served as a lecturer with the Valpo Core program, an offering designed to assist students in developing necessary academic skills such as argumentative writing and critical thinking. Cassady also worked as a lecturer of University Writing while backing English teachers from Ecuador. These lessons have distilled from the college level to high school.
"11th-grade students here are learning the skills from that University Writing course," she noted.
While at Valparaiso University, Cassady was nominated twice for the Distinguished Teaching Award and once for the Excellence in Teaching Award. Accolades aside, she feels her time in post-secondary education laid a sturdy framework for teaching at Marquette.
"Having taught freshmen at the college level, I know that one of the biggest things for them to overcome is the writing workload that is expected. If we can create those academic habits now, they're going to be that much more prepared once they arrive on a college campus," Cassady said.
Cassady emphasized that the Writing Center is beneficial for all students - not just those in English courses seeking another set of eyes and ears.
"If they have to write a paper for Mr. Martin or Mrs. Boyd, or give a speech in Mrs. Crane's class, or develop a piece in Mrs. Wagenaar's poetry class, the opportunity is there for any kind of writing whatsoever," she remarked.
Of particular importance to Marquette juniors and seniors, Cassady aims to aid students with college entrance essays and scholarship applications. With literally hundreds of college scholarships available for future college freshmen, a well-composed essay can yield thousands of dollars.
Cassady is one of four faculty/staff members whose resume listed Valparaiso University as its most recent employer. Knowledge of the academic, athletic, and social terrains of college life make for ideal candidates to power Marquette, a school that features an early college program (MQTT-U) filled with opportunities to earn dozens of dual credits.
"Having seen where most college freshmen are, I know we can make Marquette graduates top freshmen," Cassady concluded.