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WITC student's story chosen for publication

WITC student Merly Locker recently had her article selected to appear in The Change Agent, a nationwide publication for adult education for social justice.

(4/4/13): It’s a long way from the Philippines to Somerset, Wis., but Merly Locker has traveled a greater distance in life experience than what the physical miles represent. Now she can add published author to her list – an achievement many people covet for a lifetime. 

Locker, an ambitious student soon to complete her GED in WITC’s Student Success Center, was challenged with a classroom assignment by Instructor Carla Cornwall. The entire class wrote articles for The Change Agent, a nationwide publication for adult education for social justice: news, issues and ideas. The topic was, “Good Jobs, Not Just Any Jobs.”

“It was therapeutic to write about it (this topic),” Locker says. She titled her article, “A Tale of Two Jobs,” and compared two jobs she’d had:  one good, one bad. “It was very clear to me what I was going to write about,” she says.

Cornwall feels the topic was apropos, as many of the students are displaced workers who have had a lot of work experience. They’re at WITC to get the education they need to get better jobs, she explains.

Articles from around the country are submitted to the Boston-based semi-annual publication, and one day last fall, Cornwall received an email that Locker’s article was selected.

 “I was so excited for her, but I pretended to be serious and called her over to my desk. I told her to pull up a chair and read something on my computer,” Cornwall says, her eyes mischievous.

Locker exclaims, “I was so worried! I wondered what I had done wrong! But then I read the e-mail and I said, ‘Me! Me! It’s amazing! Mine got picked! I’ll never forget the day.”

 Before publication, however, the editor had questions; so Locker directly worked with the Boston editor on revisions and fleshed out some areas of the story. Locker applied what she learned in class to her article, such as how to make the wording match the publication’s audience, Cornwall explains.

“Merly is a good, strong student who works hard,” Cornwall says. “Her work ethic carries through at WITC and it clearly showed in her story.”

Locker received a $50 award for her article and with it she purchased a pizza lunch for everyone in the Success Center.

“When I told my family, my daughter wanted my autograph in her favorite Sponge Bob coloring book, and then she took it for show and tell to school,” Locker says. “My 14-year-old son says, ‘My mom is a famous star!’”