On Friday, April 30, the Woodland Hills Interaction Series hosted poet Cameron Barnett to celebrate National Poetry Month. Mr. Barnett is the author of the collection The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water, which earned him a nomination for an NAACP Image Award. For the past several weeks, students in Mr. Maloney's English classes have studied Mr. Barnett's work and even wrote poems in response to some of his writing. During the event, students not only got to share their own poetry with Mr. Barnett, but also had the opportunity to ask him questions about his writing and work as a writer. Many thanks to Mr. Maloney and his well-prepared students.
The Woodland Hills Interaction Series (WHIS) started in 2013. The WHIS was created by library media specialist Kevin McGuire and instructional technology coach Jason Coleman with the goal of providing first-class interaction opportunities for students at Woodland Hills High School.
Starting in 2016, with a partnership with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, the WHIS began an immersive literacy program to provide our students with access to contemporary literature in the classroom, thoughtful discussions, and a culminating interaction with the author. These projects have included Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan and Elizabeth Strout, National Book Award winner Colum McCann, and best-selling authors Tommy Orange, Tayari Jones, Lily King, and Valeria Luiselli. Woodland Hills High School instructional coach Christyn Coles provides the final connection to these classroom extension events as the WHIS Literacy Liaison.
During our first eight seasons, the WHIS has personally hosted such notable guests as Jennifer Egan (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Sara Shepard (N.Y. Times Bestseller), Tayari Jones (N.Y. Times Bestseller), Colum McCann (National Book Award Winner/Academy Award nominated writer), Elizabeth Strout (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Rachael Lippincott (N.Y. Times Bestseller), (Dr. Sheri Fink (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Terrance Hayes (National Book Award winner/MacArthur Fellow), Jesse Andrews (N.Y. Times Bestseller), Dr. Cyril Wecht, S.L. Price (Sports Illustrated Senior Writer), and Robert Bilheimer (Academy Award nominated director). Additionally, the WHIS has also hosted local writer Dave Newman, poet Jim Daniels, EPA Director Barnes Johnson, nationally syndicated cartoonist Joe Wos, Pittsburgh icon Rick Sebak, and U.S. Ambassador Bryant Salter.