English Teacher Sarah Chan Receives NJ Arts Fellowship
English Department Chair Sarah Chan has been awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for a work of prose. The piece was written during the summer of 2018 while on a trip taken through Peck’s Ben Alexander Grant for Faculty Enrichment.
The work is a collection of short stories about growing up in Brooklyn and is one of only five prose selections and one of 12 overall chosen for a fellowship.
“I feel honored to be recognized by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts,” Chan said. “In the past and present, winners have been professional, published writers and/or professors, and I'm, quite simply, not! I'm a sixth grade English teacher, so it feels very affirming.”
The Individual Artist Fellowships are highly competitive awards given to New Jersey artists in 12 different arts disciplines and are granted through an independent peer panel assessment which focuses on artistic quality. Awards may be used to help artists produce new work and advance their careers.
“I am very grateful to Peck for encouraging me and my fellow teachers to grow personally through its summer faculty grant,” Chan said. “When I applied, I thought it would give me the opportunity to finish some pieces I had started long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Mr. Delinsky and the Committee were so supportive—they loved my plan to set aside two weeks in the summer to return to my native Brooklyn and just write. At first, I arrived and floundered a bit, wondering how I would re-enter, revisit, and re-envision these half-finished poems and stories I had not looked at for years. Then I jumped in and experienced what my students sometimes experience when facing a writing assignment: a progression from fear, confusion, and defeat to a state of self-reflection, persistence, and open-mindedness. Ultimately, I followed the advice that I give to my students when revising; I tried to stay true to the voice in each piece and write about what I know."