Winter 2017 Karen Howard
Summer 2017 Christine Aikens Wolfe
Spring/Summer 2018 Cj Coleman
In 2017, we instituted a new award, at the suggestion of teacher-leader Karen Howard: the Above and Beyond Award. Karen’s idea was to honor those who had given countless hours to the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project over multiple years. The awardees would be those who demonstrated through their actions deep understanding of the Writing Project ethos, and who had taken on various roles in order to enact the vision. However, once Karen suggested the award, and nominated Christine Aikens Wolfe to be its first recipient, others decided to override Karen’s wishes, and to make Karen herself the first recipient, with Christine following closely behind. Karen has organized the Pittsburgh Region Scholastic Writing Awards for a number of years, has directly mentored many children and youth, as well as pre-service teachers. More recently, she has built partnerships with Pittsburgh Arts + Lectures, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Greater Valley Community Services in Braddock. Christine served as co-director, conducted professional development, and directly mentored many children and youth, as well as judging various writing competitions.
Kristine Aikens Wolfe and Karen Howard at YWI 2017 Celebration
In 2018, by consensus, long-time co-director and site stalwart Cj Coleman was going to be awarded the Above and Beyond Award for her vision and leadership. Cj co-directed the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project’s Summer Institute for fifteen years, and shepherded the site through many transitions. She was also an outstanding 6th grade creative writing teacher at Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Gifted Center. She wrote poetry and workshopped her creations as part of Carlow University’s Madwomen in the Attic. Unfortunately, Cj fell ill in February. She was informally presented the award while in the hospital, but eventually passed away on May 23. In August, her sisters, Fawn and Kim, and her partner, Connie, received the award formally during our summer potluck.
Cj Coleman, in her element at Visitors’ Day during the summer of 2017