The 2019 Beacon Award Goes To Joy Roulier Sawyer

Editor's Note: On the occasion of Joy Roulier Sawyer being awarded the 2019 Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence, we asked one of her students to write a short tribute, included below. Come to the our Holiday Party on December 7 for the official award ceremony!

"So Good I Had to Take it Twice"

by John Bellamy

Exceptional instructors are exceptional people. I remember when taking my first class at Lighthouse, I was nervous in the sense of how I would be accepted as a writer and individual within the class. As a past educator myself I recognize that it is the instructor that leads the way in welcoming students and sets the pace for students to feel they have the ability to learn and contribute their ideas in a safe environment. Most importantly, making the class engaging and fun. 

Joy was my first instructor at Lighthouse and what I enjoyed most about her was her honesty and wit. Her honesty for the craft of writing and feedback with the students was important for everyone in the class, for seasoned as well as beginning writers. Writing is a hard profession that requires dedication and creativity and there are times when it is hard to find the muse. "Spark and Re-Spark: Reignite Your Craft and Creativity" was the class to do just that. Joy provided us with activities from using color, music, aroma to ignite creative thoughts, articles on the process of writing, essays from notable authors like Junot Diaz, and short stories and tactile material to incorporate senses into our writing. Joy’s class was indeed engaging and full of laughter. I felt at ease with my classmates and welcomed each moment I got to sit down with Joy and pick her brain about the writing process.

It’s always nice when an instructor brings in food and other treats for students to enjoy while engaging in activities and the writing process but the real treat was Joy herself. Her wealth of knowledge and lightheartedness was such a benefit to my progress in the class that I had to take it twice. I was and still am grateful for the experience of working with Joy and the knowledge gained from that experience.

John Bellamy is a writer and participant in Lighthouse's Hard Times Writing Workshops.