Nearly 90 Clark County students, 2 authors participate in writing program

Nearly 90 Clark County students had the opportunity to learn about writing from published authors.

This year’s Young Authors’ Program, held Friday by the Clark County Educational Service Center (ESC), included two published authors who presented to 87 students from Clark-Shawnee, Greenon, Northeastern, Northwestern, Southeastern and Tecumseh local schools, as well as Ridgewood School.

The program is designed to recognize and encourage young writers to develop stronger writing skills. This is the first time the program has been held in three years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are very excited to have it, and we are thrilled to host this program,” said Scott Webb, administrative assistant to the superintendent of the ESC, which has coordinated this event for 13 years. “The whole idea of this program is to inspire young writers.”

Students in each school district submit their writings to their school coordinators and are chosen for each grade level to participate in the program. The students can write about a variety of topics and submit a short story, poem, essay, critical review, news story or editorial.

The one-day workshop gives students in grades 1-12 a chance to meet with published authors and learn about the writing process, as well as attend three or four workshops that help creativity, expression and story development.

This year, author Mary Kay Carson presented to grades 2-6 and Sandra Gurvis to grades 7-12.

Carson has been an author for more than 25 years, writing mainly books for young people and nonfiction. She has participated in this event three times, two before the pandemic.

“It’s really terrific,” she said. “This is the first time that they’ve had it in person since the pandemic, so it’s been three years, so it’s really great to be back and to have the kids back in person.”

Gurvis has been an author for more than 45 years. She writes books, nonfiction, novels and essays. This is her second time participating in the event.

“It’s an honor,” she said. “It’s great to see the kids be interested in writing and research and learning. It really is wonderful.”

Students in grades 2-6 also attended several other sessions, including bookbinding with Judy McCreary, photography with David Morrow and storytelling with Pat Van Gorder. Sessions for students in grades 7-12 included publishing with Jim Arter, improvisation with Lisa Moon and photography with Dan Leithauser.

The students also got to participate in an activity with the help of the Wittenberg University Education Department. Erin Hill, professor of practice, said they were interested in the event because it has been held for so many years on campus.

“I thought that would be a great opportunity for our teacher candidates to come over and work with students,” she said. “We are thrilled to have young writers and young creatives on campus, and we really want to support their work and their development.”

Each student chosen for the program has their writing published in the Young Authors’ Anthology that’s distributed the day of the program.

The sponsor this year was PRO Oncall Technologies.

Chris Mulhern said they have been the Clark County ESC’s technology vendor for many years now and was thrilled to be invited to sponsor the event.

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