Young writers present award-winning works

Published 3:53 pm Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ten talented young writers gathered Saturday afternoon at the Judge George W. Armstrong Library to read their award-winning stories and poems as part of Chocolate Milk Café.

Sponsored by the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration and founded by Mark LaFrancis of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the program, which encourages kids to write, is in its second year.

“It started as a way to incorporate young people into the NLCC,” LaFrancis said.

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“Teachers help us by getting their class to write for us, and schools from all over the Miss-Lou — from Adams County to Concordia Parish — send us a sampling of students’ works. We choose the best out of those.”

This year, 75 poems and short stories were submitted based on the theme, “Young Writers Explore their Roots.” Out of those, 18 were chosen and compiled into a book. Proceeds from the book, which sells for $5, benefit the Armstrong Library’s children’s library.

Ten of the 18 students read their works Saturday to a captivated crowd of parents, teachers, family and friends.

The young writers were all in fifth- and sixth-graders from Adams County Christian School, Morgantown School, Trinity Episcopal Day School and Vidalia Upper Elementary School.

“We chose the fifth- and sixth-grade age range because that’s when the kids are at an age where hey are being exposed to creative writing, and they have fertile imaginations. It teaches them that literature is not only to be read and enjoyed, but also written,” LaFrancis said.

Topics ranged from family traditions to vacations to an evil little brother.

Collectively, they shared some sweet memories from their home,” LaFrancis said.

“It took a lot to do that.”

Marlon Gray, of Morgantown School, wrote a poem entitled, “My Bad Brother.”

“When I wished for my brother, I wanted a good one stat. Instead, I got a mean, yellow-toothed little brat,” Gray read, to a laughing crowd.

Jack Daly, of Trinity Episcopal Day School, wrote a short story about his family’s skiing trip in Colorado.

“Just thinking of snow skiing makes me happy. My favorite parts are being with my family, the warm lodge, the fire and the food,” he read.

Shakara Perry, of Morgantown School, wrote about cooking with her grandmother.

“Cooking with my grandma every day, it’s better than going outside to play. Cooking with Grandma May, that just makes me want to smile every day,” she read.

“They rehearsed how to present their work,” LaFrancis said after listening to the young writers and entertainers.

“I was amazed. And who knows, out of this group there may be a Richard Wright or a Eudora Welty. We just want to encourage them to keep writing.”