Teacher Profile: Ms. Clayville, a published pro, teaches students to write

Summer Miller, Staff Writer

Writing is no easy task. Weaving tales of terror or love, and enthralling an audience, can seem almost impossible. But Ms. Clayville has done it. She has climbed the writing mountain and reached the summit as a published author. Now, in addition to continuing to write and publish, she teaches students the ins and outs of this sacred craft. 

Clayville is an 11th grade English teacher in the McGowan English hallway. She is the CHS National English Honors Society and Pandora’s Box advisor as well.

She says writing was an “integral part of her high school experience” in that it allowed her to “navigate her emotions and connect with the world beyond school.”

Clayville said short fiction and flash  fiction are her favorite genres to write.

“I usually write characters in conflict and struggle, ” she said.

But even greats like Clayville have faced obstacles. A major challenge for her at the start of her writing journey was getting published. 

 She said, “When I started writing it was difficult to publish anything. My first few rejections hit me hard, and I stopped writing for almost six months. I was very young and expected to be published right away. I was also trying to publish in areas that I don’t think suited me.”

However, when Clayville finally did get her work published, she said that it was an incredibly validating experience. She published a short story, “Night on the Susquehanna,” in a highly competitive literary journal, and it encouraged her to keep writing. 

Clayville’s dedication to writing can not only be seen in Pandora’s Box, and in her own phenomenal writing, but within her classroom as well. Every writing assignment she gives out comes back to the student with thoughtful feedback and edits. Even students that have long since graduated still come back to her for writing advice. 

If you are in the same boat that Ms. Clayville once was, and are looking for publishing opportunities, there is an outlet for students right here at CHS, in Pandora’s Box.  Pandora’s Box is an online literary magazine for CHS students to publish their poetry, short fiction, and art. As stated above, Clayville is the advisor of the magazine and is very dedicated to its success.  She even helped to revive Pandora’s Box several years ago, when it lost funding due to budgeting concerns, by posing the idea to the school with former English teacher, Mr. Griffith. 

Clayville’s life is immersed in the world of writing and reading. She always has On Writing by Stephen King on hand for when those pesky writing ruts rear their ugly heads, as well as a copy of Bird by Bird by Annie Lammott. So, keep writing, stop by Ms. Clayville’s room, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!