From Savannah to speaking up

I AM SAVANNAH BOLD

From Savannah to speaking up

This is the start of your story. Never be afraid to be yourself. That’s what Dr. Erin DeYoung always tells her students. Because, as a Savannah State English instructor, she knows that who you are is key to what you have to say – and how you say it. It’s the start of your story.

Dr. DeYoung is a fellow at Savannah’s Deep Center, a White House-recognized initiative where she helps teach middle and high school kids how to find their voices through writing. And then share the depth of Savannah’s diverse narratives in an anthology of student work.

“We are here to tell the stories that aren’t told very often.” – Dr. Erin DeYoung

But whether she’s in the classroom or out with Deep kids in Savannah, listening to stories of the homeless as part of a lesson in community building, Dr. DeYoung’s philosophy remains the same: “I want my students to think critically about the world around them. I’m not teaching them about a bunch of dead white guys. Instead, I want them to apply what they learn in the classroom to everyday life.”

That’s why, in class, Dr. DeYoung’s students are analyzing, deconstructing, and critiquing the news. And why they’re playing video games to study how choices can change narratives. She wants them to see things differently: That news narratives are ever-evolving from platform to platform. And that video games (and other media, like reality TV) are a new form of storytelling.

“The world can’t tell you who you are or what you can or can’t do. You have the freedom to be anything.”
– Dr. Erin DeYoung

Dr. DeYoung herself isn’t shy about who she is. After all, you don’t get to be a pink-haired, motorcycle-riding pilot with a Ph.D. from Dublin’s Trinity College without being a little bold. But ultimately, she finds inspiration in her students.

“My students are all so proud of who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going. They’re fearless in the way they talk. The way they think. The way they share what affects them. They’re the ones who are bold.” Seriously Impressive


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