The results of the fifth annual Student Voices Project are featured in the May 2018 issue and online here. Stay tuned for the announcement of next year’s project in the fall.
2017–2018 SVP Theme: Testimony Stories
Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others. —Peter Forbes, photographer and author
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to communicate an idea, share an experience, or highlight a revelation. Stories can enable understanding and empathy between two opposing groups; and they can strengthen bonds between those with like minds. Quakers have been telling stories for hundreds of years in order to connect with each other and the wider world about their beliefs and experiences. Many of the most memorable Quaker stories involve our testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.
We read the great biographies or journals of Friends often because they are inspiring stories and they cause us to reflect upon our own lives and our own experience in fresh ways that we might not have thought of otherwise. —Doug Gwyn, Quaker minister and author (QuakerSpeak.com video interview, July 2017)
Tell us a story about how one of the Quaker testimonies was made real to you in your life. We’re looking for true tales that involve you somehow and illustrate how a testimony went from abstract concept to real-life presence.
Below is a list of ten examples of story-driven articles published in Friends Journal recently. Three of them are by high-school students*, and they range in length from 535 to 1885 words.
- “Sweet Ol’ Camp Tunes” by Kyle Weinman* (FJ May 2017 online), 725 words — A lively and spontaneous sing-a-long inspires a feeling of closeness and community in tenth-grader Kyle.
- “I Am Not a Religious Person” by Sarah Pennock Neuville* (FJ Feb. 2017), 1885 words — Sarah submitted this piece to us when she was a junior in high school. She uses highly descriptive language in the retelling of a mystical experience she had when she was just six years old.
- “Counselor Orientation ’99” by Pete Dybdahl (FJ May 2017), 936 words — Pete shares memories from camp that reveal the evolution of his relationship with a certain “beauty queen” who later becomes his wife.
- “Violent Video Games and Quaker Teens” by Greyson Acquaviva* (FJ Nov. 2016), 1337 words — Greyson writes about a weeklong gaming elective he took in high school and how the violence he encountered there challenged his Quaker values.
- “Darkness and Light” by Mary Jean Port (FJ Dec. 2016), 887 words — Mary Jean recalls a particular moment that stayed with her for decades as she considers the contrast of darkness and light.
- “A Place of Stillness in Iran” by Karie Firoozmand (FJ Oct. 2016), 798 words — On a trip to Iran, Karie finds that inward place of communion in an unexpected place.
- “On Being a Quaker Entrepreneur” by Dan Cooperstock (FJ Jan. 2017), 1525 words — Dan shares the story about how he became an entrepreneur with a business that reflects personal values and Quaker testimonies.
- “Facing the Light: Emmanuel Levinas Goes to Quaker Meeting” by Austin Ricketts (FJ Jan. 2017), 990 words — Austin describes a recent trip to meeting for worship and connects the experience to his admiration for philosopher Emmanual Levinas.
- “Weeping to Joy” by Betsy Blake (FJ Aug. 2017), 1626 words — In a highly personal essay, Betsy reflects on the time after the death of her younger sister, revealing how it affected her beliefs on an afterlife.
- “Finding Quakerism on My Own” by Patty Quinn (FJ June/July 2016), 535 words — Patty charts her ongoing journey to Quakerism, a path marked with many inner thoughts.
- Stories must be true and personal with an original title.
- Written submissions only, and they must be typed.
- Word count: between 300 and 1,500 words.
- Submit individual entries via Submittable.
Deadline: February 12, 2018
Submit individual entries via Submittable.
Check out the honorees from past years:
- Fourth year (2016–2017)
- Third year (2015–2016)
- Second year (2014–2015)
- First year (2013–2014)