Connecting Sentences -  BC Students with Dr Virgil A Bermuda College Literary Analysis (LA) Class recently undertook a unique project that involved sharing their literary writings with inmates from the Westgate Correctional facility.

Connecting Sentences BC Students with Dr Virgil

Bermuda College Connecting Sentences

A Bermuda College Literary Analysis (LA) Class recently undertook a unique project that involved sharing their literary writings with inmates from the Westgate Correctional facility. The collaborative end-product, was creatively designed for showcasing by members of the Registered Student Organisation, the Bermuda College Literary Society (BCLS), and was recently unveiled to the campus in an exhibit in the foyer of the College Library.
“Bermuda College Connecting Sentences” was planned and piloted by Senior English Lecturer, Dr. Sharon Virgil, in conjunction with Westgate Education Officer, Ms. Shawnette Somner. The student-inmate exchange is based on the American model “Exchange for Change”. Westgate inmates sent their compositions to BC students in Dr. Virgil’s Literary Analysis class, and the students created poems in response to the compositions. To preclude bias, neither of the two groups knew with whom they were corresponding until the project was completed.
Connecting Sentences Display

Students thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Ken-nie wrote …“Connecting Sentences,” was a wonderful experience. Not only did it allow me to get out of my comfort zone and communicate with someone I had no idea about, but it became a better and more meaningful experience when I realized that the person I was responding to was in Westgate Correctional Facility. I can’t help but think about how those who are incarcerated still look forward in life, and I have the whole world at my hands, but tend to take it for granted.
I now have a new head on my shoulders and will try to do the best with the resources I am given, just as I was taught by my involvement in this project, “Connecting Sentences.”
Ki said… “Writing this response poem was an amazing experience! What started out as a word of hope to the reader, turned out to be an amazing revelation to me. It’s amazing how much the struggle in a young girl like myself and a prisoner can be so different yet so similar at the same time. As I was writing the poem I found myself relating to a lot of the material. It was as if I was writing to myself. After a while I began to melt into the poem, making it part of me. Writing this poem served as a form of therapy for me.
When Dr. Virgil told us that Ms. Somner wanted to meet with us to share the prisoners’ feedback I was both nervous and excited. I really wanted them to enjoy the poem. I wanted them to know that society hasn’t forgotten them. It was amazing to hear their feedback. I loved the fact that even though everything was anonymous they were still able to pick out small details like if the writer was a female or male.
In the end I am very grateful to have had this experience. If I was asked to do it again I would do it without hesitation. I would like to thank Dr. Virgil and Ms. Somner for allowing me to participate in this project; it was both a gratifying and liberating experience.”

BCLS RSO members created the design for the project that will be housed in the foyer of the Bermuda College Library.

Connecting Sentences BC Students with Dr Virgil and Ms Somner


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