Seven students have the opportunity to explore Kansas during class time. Creative Writing: Travel Writing is a current course instructed by John Scaggs, associate professor of English and English program coordinator. The course offers students the chance to travel areas within four hours of Winfield at moderate costs.
“It’s part of the creative writing emphasis (in English), rather than literature emphasis,” said Scaggs. “It focuses on developing practical writing skills.”
Part of the class is encouraging students to do something they haven’t done before.
“I wanted to use the class as opportunity to get students to explore,” said Scaggs, “And to get them use to the idea that travel doesn’t have to be going to Africa. Travel is anywhere out your front door really.”
Scaggs said he tried to arrange inexpensive trips during the semester. He took the class to the Wichita Art Museum on Saturday morning when admission is free.
“I loved it,” said Stacy Harkness, English junior referring to the trip to the Art Museum. “It was my first time going to the Wichita Art Museum, even though I do live in Wichita. I didn’t know we had one.”
The group then had plans to go to the Maharaja Restaurant, to dine on authentic Indian food.
“It didn’t go according to plan,” said Scaggs. “If every trip went according to plan we wouldn’t have anything to write about.” Upon arrival at the restaurant they discovered it had moved. They searched for the new location only to find that it was not open.
“It was fun trying to find it,” said Stacy Harkness, English junior. “It had moved and then we went driving around again and it wasn’t open. We sat in the parking lot and discussed what we were going to do next.”
Disappointed that he couldn’t introduce his group of students to authentic Indian food, Scaggs took the class to Il Vicino, an Italian pizza restaurant, which serves wood-oven pizza.
“I’ve never had a calzone that good before,” said Harkness.
Their exploration of food continued the next day as the Travel Writing class met at Henry’s Candies in Dexter.
“That was my first time going to the Dexter Candy store,” said Scaggs. “And of course, going to a candy shop, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.” Scaggs made sure to take home several sweet souvenirs.
“It was really cool and very surprising, though I wasn’t expecting it to be,” said Alyssa Harshfield, computer science sophomore. Harshfield is the only student in the class not majoring in English. She said she didn’t expect the store to have such a vast variety of candy.
“We watched them make candies, both suckers and a few drops,” she said. “It was sweet smelling. They started with a batch of molten sugar and then they poured and mixed in a little coloring and mixed it all together. The strawberry looked like chewed bubble gum, and the peach looked like orange sherbet.”
The workers at Henry’s candies gave fresh samples to the students. “When they were warm they had more flavor, it was like eating a hard cake,” said Harshfield. “I would love to take my mom there. Anyone who hasn’t gone should go and buy at least one bag of candy.”
This weekend the Travel Writing class will take a Winfield cemetery tour.