The Not-So-Bad Guys: "Telling the Other Side of the Story"- Writing Workshop


Ages 8-12

February 8, 2013; 1-3pm

What if the Big Bad Wolf just had a bad case of the allergies?  And maybe Cinderella wasn’t so nice after all … just who was calling her stepsisters “ugly,” anyway?  There are lots of “good guy” and “bad guy” pairings in stories we’ve all heard, and maybe the characters we thought were heroes haven’t been telling the whole truth.  In this workshop, we’ll give villains the chance to share their side of the story!

Click here to register 

Location: RSS Co. Headquarters 2388 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55114

About the Instructor:

A New York native, Meghan Pipe is Rock Star Supply Co.’s Writing Workshop Coordinator.  She holds a BA in Creative Writing from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and has a background in teaching and museum education.

Watch for falling gummy bears!

We asked some of our after-school program students what they'd rather have falling from the sky for these past 24 hours of sleetish snow.  Their answers...aren't surprising.  Who wouldn't want candy falling from the sky?

Mike&Ike's thundersnow.

Mike&Ike's thundersnow.

"There it was showering down from the sky like hail.  It sparkled like the jewels in my earrings.  Can you guess what I'm talking about?  Gummy bears!  Delicious and scrumptious gummy bears.  Ever since I put that red, cherry gummy bear in my mouth in first grade, I've been obsessed with the stuff.  Why this candy?  Duh they are the best candy ever, and they don't get that dirty when they hit the ground.  Also, anybody can eat gummy bears.  They're not too sweet, not too chewy, and not too...gummy.  Now, excuse me, I have to go get an umbrella and a bucket to catch those falling bear.  Goodbye!"

-Auden, grade 7

"If I chose what was falling from the sky it would be EVERY CANDY IN THE WORLD because I like every kind of candy in the world.  But my favorite food is rice."

-Sumaya, grade 3

"One day I was playing outside with my brother and sister when all of a sudden a Mike&Ike fell on my head.  Then I looked up and saw a ton of Mike&Ike's falling from the sky.  I then ran inside to grab an umbrella to catch them in and I stood out there for the rest of the day.  (WITH BREAKS.)"

-Evan, grade 7

Rock Star Supply Co. + Como High = SUCCESS


 "Miss C!  When are the tutors coming back?"  That sentence is a straight-up symphony to my ears.  Welcome to the "Achieve" program, where myself, a teacher and other school personnel work with our at-risk freshmen at Como Park Senior High School.  The students vary in personality, background and social skills, but they all have one thing in common: something has kept them from being academically successful and often they are failing multiple courses.  It could be from learning challenges, economic and social disparities, a language barrier or a lack of basic study skills.  Whatever the reason, they are placed in the Achieve program and we make every effort possible to make sure they succeed in their freshmen year.

            Rock Star Supply Company is an enormous component to this recipe for success.  Every Friday, the smiling faces of our Rock Star Supply C. volunteers come in the classroom and I get to pair them up consistently with the same students.  We do a little warm-up activity, and then the rest of the hour is devoted to precious work time, where kids pull out assignments they need to finish or material they don't understand. 

            Commence Rock Star Supply Co. Fridays!  I look around the room and see my students bent over their worksheets, nodding and smiling as their Rock Star Supply Co. coaches them on.  They don't just do schoolwork; they get to learn about each other's lives and form a bond.  If school work is finished, we let them play games together or talk about post-secondary options.

            Our students are certainly academically capable; however, many of them find it challenging to concentrate independently for more than 10 minutes at a time.  While teachers practice the delicate art of varied instruction and implement a variety of activities in order to maintain students' focus, nothing impacts a student's ability to concentrate more than a one-on-one tutoring session.  Most of the time, they just need someone to sit with them and assist them in staying on task. 

            The relationship piece to volunteer tutoring is on an equal level with academic assistance.  It's impossible for school staff to form a relationship with every student who walks through the door, especially when a teacher has over 120 teenage students to teach, assess and coach.  Having a volunteer enter an urban high school and create a consistent and meaningful connection with a student is immeasurable.  The students get that valued one-on-one attention which, in their everyday lives, is scarce. 

            Friday ends, the weekend comes and goes, and classes begin once again on Monday.  I hear rumblings in the background of how much they wished they had a tutor today.  I smile and tell them I am wishing the same thing.  Everyone looks forward to Rock Star Supply Co. Fridays.

Maria "Miss C" Cocchiarella is the Intervention Specialist at Como Park Senior High School. 


Free Homework Help Begins on 9/30

Homework Help

Beginning on Monday, September 30 students across the Twin Cities are invited to visit Rock Star Supply Co. Headquarters for FREE homework help (Monday-Thursday.) We have a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers waiting to help student's with their homework. 




3:00 PM- 6:00 PM

2388 University Avenue W

Saint Paul, MN 55114


Just show up or email to pre-register.  



Writing from our guests, friends and Musical Chairs champs!

Snippets from our Furniture Fundraising Party and Musical Chairs Championship!

Last night, Rock Star Supply Co. hosted guests, tutors and friends for a Musical Chairs Championship and Furniture Fundraising Party.  Here are some highlights from our table of writing prompts:

If you had a celebrity tutor, who would it be and what would they teach you?

"I remember when I was 10 and all I wanted, tutorily-wise, was Billy Joel to give me a piano lesson and Pele to give me a soccer lesson.  Looking back, I think "Why Billy Joel?"  And it really teaches you something about comfort - aesthetic comfort for sure, but also you go on liking what you like.  Which is at least as powerful as being moved by something like what you like. 

Also writing with a pencil makes your hand hurt and then you want to finish up and get home and listen to Billy Joel. 

School is much, much, much harder than math."

Describe a game of musical chairs from the viewpoint of the chair. 

"You know, these people.  They build us, keep us in warehouses, shrink-wrap us so we're huddled together unnaturally, then they lead us onto trucks, trains, boats, whatever.  And then we sit, crowded unpleasantly in another warehouse, until some other truck picks us us to bring us to a distribution center.  Then, finally, at least sometimes, we are broken apart, liberated, and end up standing alone in an office supply store, until someone purchases us and takes us home.  And then, a series of random bottoms go on us and off of us, with little rhyme or reason - what the heck?  And now, they want to make a game of it??!!  I was manufactured by children and shipped across the ocean for this??!! "

 "Ouch!  Not you again.  Do you realize that this is the third time you've dropped your full - and I mean full - weight on me?

Easy tiger, this is a fundraiser FOR chairs.  So show a little respect.  

Whew, the music is back on.  If only it could stay on for the rest of the night.  Seriously, that sax player is kicking it.  Why aren't we just chillin out in a dark, candle-lit room, listening to this cool jazz? 

Kiddies, it's time for games to end.   


black chair" 


More Monstrous Writing from our students!

Last Saturday, Rock Star Supply Co. hosted National book prize winner William Alexander for a writing workshop entitled Making Monstrous Characters.  The workshop was totally free for students at our new location at University and Raymond Avenues in Saint Paul!  RSSCo. friend and student Lilly generously shared this spooky piece with us:

With each breath came a jolt of pain in my chest.  My legs were weak, my eyes, heavy, but I couldn't stop.  The sweet smell of blood was all that was motivating me.  I hadn't fed in almost a week now, and the deprivation was anything but keeping me alive.  The scent of blood lead me to a wooden deck.  By the moonlight, I was able to make out the silhouette of what looked to be a scrawny young boy.  As desperate as I was, I maintained my slow saunter, for if I had sped up, my meal would surely be aware of his fate.  Soon, I was a mere foot away from the boy.  I bowed down, preparing to pounce.  The boy turned, and at the displeasing sight of my matted coat and bloodthirsty eyes,let out a blood-curling scream.  I made my first pounce for his neck, and received immediate relief from the metallic taste lingering in my mouth.  At the sight of the lesion in his neck, he began gasping, unable to make any other sound. 

Fall Writing Workshops



Rock Star is hosting a series of workshops with local artists that teach writing fundamentals, while appealing to both reluctant writers and aspiring authors ages 11-14.

Making Monstrous Characters

Sept 14, 1-3PM

In this workshop we will create monsters and explore gleefully monstrous perspectives. Various writing exercises will guide us while we imagine these strange beasts and decide what they are, what they do, and what effect they might have on the world around them. Note that we can interpret the word "monster" as literally or metaphorically as we like. Your own creation might be a tantrum- prone sibling or a creature larger than the moon. By the end of the workshop we will write short story portraits of our monstrous characters.

Click here to register

1,2,3 Story Workshop

Oct 12 and 19, 1-3PM

In this two-session course, you'll learn about what makes a great story, why 3-act structure and vivid characters matter, and how to have fun with plot and theme. By the end, you'll have written a short story, script or poem that will ROCK.

Music Writing Workshop with Logan Adam

Oct 26

What's the one thing you love more than hearing your favorite song on the radio? Writing about your favorite song! Students will write their own defnition of “music” and identify what it is that makes music – music! At the end of the workshop, students will have their own “This is Music” essay that will be posted on THE GARAGE's music blog GARAGE MUSIC NEWS. 


Email to register for any of these workshops!