The Write Field

Want to participate in the 2020-2021 program?

The next Write Field program begins in September 2020. Sign up here for updates:

Schedule for 2019-2020 school year

  • September 14 | Welcome!/Opening Day
  • October 12 | Interviewing/Meet a Ray
  • November 9 | Poetry/Fiction/Festival of Reading
  • December 14 | Sportswriting
  • January 11 | Public Speaking
  • February 8 | History
  • March 14 | Publishing
  • April 11 | Songwriting
  • May 9 | MediaWise/Banking
  • June 12 | Graduation
  • June 13 | Goodbyes for Summer

Program background

The Write Field is a dynamic program designed to improve the writing, public speaking skills and confidence of middle school African American and Hispanic boys in St. Petersburg. Led by veteran journalists, writers and an array of media and community professionals, the Write Field students are introduced to a variety of writing styles that include journalism, prose, drama, music and social media.

Founded in 2011 to address the achievement gap in local schools, the program meets one Saturday each month during the school year. Over the course of 10 Saturdays, the boys meet with local journalists, community officials, professional athletes and business leaders to reinforce the communication skills they will need to complete high school and succeed in whatever they pursue next.

In a city with one of the nation’s highest dropout rates, more than two-thirds of the Write Field participants can now boast of higher grades, including straight A’s and dean’s list accomplishments, as well as success with the Florida Comprehensive Test Assessment. In a 2017 study, we found The Write Field boys were doing well in school and advancing to the next grade at a higher rate than their peers.

The Write Field program was featured nationally on PBS and recognized by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2014 for its work in helping to reduce the dropout rate, especially among students of color.

Poynter’s 2018 Write Field program culminated on Friday, June 15, 2019, as 25 young men (23 present) graduated from the writing and development program.

Ernest Hooper and Demorris Lee serve as co-directors of the program. Hooper is the Hillsborough community editor and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times. Lee is a communications coordinator for Pinellas County Schools and a former journalist at the Tampa Bay Times.

Poynter thanks the Rays Baseball Foundation for its founding support of this program. We also acknowledge the City of St. Petersburg and Wells Fargo for their sponsorship, which allows Poynter to offer this program at no cost to the boys or their families. We’re grateful for the partnership with the Pinellas County Schools and the St. Petersburg Police Department. Community partners provide special touches for the program, including Sacino’s Formalwear and Rescue Writing.

For information on applying to the program, send an email to

Consider a gift to support these students through The Write Field program and help Poynter make a difference in our community. Click here to donate (put “Write Field” in the field for special instructions) or contact Wendy Wallace, director of advancement, at or (727) 553-4311.