The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students learn how to write, share heritage with others

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

SE Campus’ Writing Your Heritage seminars attracted more than a dozen people with personal experiences and family history to write about.

Dr. Juan Araujo, University of North Texas at Dallas assistant professor, presented a two-part seminar Oct. 5 and 12 designed to encourage people to document and preserve their heritage.

“Writing helps us figure out who we are as people,” he said. “We write because it helps us feel like we belong.”

Araujo said once people get their feelings on paper, they can share them with others and travel through time.

He gave writers the necessary tools such as journals and book coverings to preserve their memoirs and get them started. He then encouraged everyone to write a poem titled “Where I’m From” to share during session two.

“Your writing should have an audience,” he said.

SE student Nada Atieh was the first to stand and share her poem during session two.

“I am from chaos, from children throwing stones at war tanks in defense of their homes, their families … I am an American. I am a Palestinian. And I am happy. … ” she said.

Leola Jones, an 85-year-old visitor attended the seminar with a friend. She said her family came to Oklahoma on the Cherokee Trail of Tears and were proud to be Cherokee.

Jones carried with her a worn paper card showing her enrollment number with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She said she wanted to write everything down because her family is interested in learning more about their past.

“I’ve started writing some already,” she said. “I thought I would write and leave something that would kind of surprise them.”

Jones said she also had two uncles who fought during the Civil War.

SE administrative assistant Sue White said her family research showed she has a great uncle who was superintendent of schools for the Cherokee Nation.

“I came from a family of educators,” she said.

Nita Haliburton, SE Campus coordinator of special projects, is a genealogist who has documented her family history since 1977. During her research, she accessed the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

“My father told me about his relatives,” she said.

Haliburton’s great, great grandparents were slaves, and her family migrated to Texas from Virginia. While traveling through Tennessee, they lost one family member, a young girl, to night riders. The family had sent her to get water from the river. She never returned, and they had to continue on without her, she said.

Haliburton is planning two books. She has 160 pages of family history and genealogy that she wants to publish. And she wants to write historical fiction.

“I plan to juice it up a little,” she said.

Araujo had his own story to tell. Originally from El Salvador, he moved first to New Jersey, then Texas.

In his poem, he wrote, “I am from coffee beans.”

Araujo said when writing, the first three paragraphs are pretty much junk because the writer needs to warm up. The writer needs to cut out the first few paragraphs. If the writer does that two or three times, then he/she gets to something.

“We need to document who we are,” he said. “In writing these stories, the stories can last a lifetime.”

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