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Winners announced for the first Project Publish Club awards at First Flight Middle School

In a year when students, families and teachers have fought to stay connected and passionate about school, middle school English teacher Kimberly Cherington found a way to creatively inspire engagement.

Cherington launched the Project Publish Club at First Flight Middle School with funding from the Dare Education Foundation, guiding seventh and eighth graders in writing short stories and novels and the opportunity to compete to have their finished pieces published.

Students were encouraged to take risks and collaborate in their writing processes through individual conferences with Cherington and participation in an afterschool club where they participated in writing games and lessons. Completed works were reviewed and recognized by a panel of creative professionals and awarded for elaboration of characters, setting and plot, style, voice, point of view and word choice.

Mya Lawrence won the novel category for the science fiction piece “The Genius Pool.” Lawrence found inspiration in an unusual place: “The idea behind my short story came from a dream, which in any case, is kind of a weird thing. I made some changes to fit what I wanted to do, but I just thought it was really funny that the main plot came from a dream I had.”

Jasmine Cook won the short story category for her historical fiction piece “Bettina,” inspired by her own family in Germany.

Both young authors will be paired with Four Leaf Publishing for professional layout, editing as well as cover design. Robert Kugler, owner of Four Leaf Publishing, noted “This is everything that’s right with independent publishing right now: community, parents, and students working together to develop new and interesting works of fiction. This is everything that I want to be a part of and I could not be more excited.”

“This is a wonderful example to our students of the impact they can make in the world through writing,” said Cherington.

The Dare Education Foundation was established in 2002 by a group of community organizers and supports students, teachers and schools in Dare County by funding innovative learning opportunities. DEF works together with Dare County Schools to provide grants to schools and classrooms, funding for teacher professional development, college scholarships and affordable teacher housing.

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