Budding writers encouraged at Young Authors Institute

Presque Isle Angela Kelley was in high school when she was first recognized for her writing. And she'll never forget how it made her feel.

"I didn't play sports and I wasn't in music and it gave me self confidence, it made me believe in myself...I still write to this day, I'm not published.. but it's important to me," she said.

And so she's dedicated to helping students all over the County experience the same feeling. She's the president of Aroostook Right to Read -- who held their Young Author Institute on Friday. Students from all ends of the County converged on the University of Maine at Presque Isle to not only be recognized for their writing, but learn more about the skill, and perhaps even find a passion for it.

"Young age...starting grade four, if you get the writing bug you could go on and be an author or journalist or something," she said.

The students who attended the institute are the winners of writing contests in their classroom. Along with attending this event, their work will also get published. 7th grader Aaron Skinner wrote about a kid trapped in his favorite video game.

"It takes a lot of imagination. I believe everyone can write if they put their mind and heart to it," said Skinner.

"I wrote about a man that came back from dying in the military to save his wife and comes back to life again," said 5th grader Colleen Thamsen.

These creative minds got to hear from one with a bit more experience - Cynthia Lord is a published children's book author who says even she needed some cheering on to get to where she is now.

"I grew up in a family of people that really love math and they were not readers so it was at school that I became a writer -- it was my teachers that really encouraged me in that direction," said Lord.

And so she sees herself in these kids. And wants to help them remember not to quit even when the challenge is great.

"Most people when they hit those hard parts they give up...and the ones that end up being published are the ones that didn't give up," she said.

And if these youngsters follow that advice, who knows what future chapters could bring.