Earlier this year, in the midst of college application season at Cohen College Prep, we had an idea.
Each of us had read many brilliant college essays over the years. But we realized that all too often these wonderful pieces of writing (into which students pour their blood, sweat, and tears) are read by counselors and admissions officers only.
Then, they basically gather dust.
What if, we asked ourselves, students got the chance to publish their college essays? What if they could actually get paid for the labor they put into these pieces of writing, in the form of scholarships for college? What if more people got to read about their opinions, experiences, and dreams?
That was the beginning of the In Our Own Voices project.
Students and counselors from Cohen College Prep and high schools across the city got excited to join in, and 32 student authors were chosen for publication in what has now become an honest-to-goodness book, In Our Own Voices: College Essays by New Orleans Youth.
Nikki Mayeux, a teacher at Cohen and an amazing photographer, very kindly donated her time and captured the beautiful portraits scattered throughout the book. We asked our communities to support the project via Kickstarter (check out the video, produced by CCP’s multi-talented Band Director, Riccardo Emilien), and through the overwhelming generosity of nearly 100 backers, we pooled a whopping $4,057 to cover the cost of printing.
Now, we are delighted to report that the books have arrived!
And copies are officially for sale. Paperbacks are $25 each, and hardcovers are $50. The best part is that 100% of proceeds go back to New Orleans students in the form of scholarships to help cover the cost of college.
If you would like a copy, just head over to the New Orleans College Prep donation page and place your order!
We can’t wait for you to read the hilarious, heart-felt, wise words of 32 strong youth voices from here in New Orleans.