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News Release

Eight Students Named Semifinalists in MCCS'

A Journey Into Writing Contest

Monday, April 24, 2006

CONTACTS: Alice Kirkpatrick at (207) 767-0116 x 3
(207) 767-0116 x 4;
or Ellyn Chase, ph. 207.629.4007

AUGUSTA , Maine — Through poems and short stories, eight Maine high school juniors explored subjects ranging from the Holocaust to a surreal encounter at a department store and as a result have been named semifinalists in the Maine Community College Systems' A Journey Into Writing contest.

The students will find out next month if their written words will earn them a prestigious honor — to be named one of Maine's three "Young Writers of the Year" — and a generous cash award.

The semifinalists were chosen from more than 214 entries from 74 high schools throughout Maine. They are: Siobhan Anderson of Newcastle, a student at North Yarmouth Academy; Emma Albright of South Freeport attending Freeport High School; Cassandra Jensen, Lauren Landry and Lauren Rodrigue, all of Lewiston and attending Lewiston High School; Emily Elizabeth Shinay of Scarborough and attending Scarborough High School; Kinsey Tarbell of Cape Elizabeth and attending Cape Elizabeth High School; and Erin Watson of Limestone and attending the Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

Celebrated Maine authors Richard Russo, Linda Greenlaw, and Wesley McNair are the judges for this year’s contest. They will join Governor John E. Baldacci and sponsors of the contest at a luncheon ceremony to honor the students and announce the three winners on Wednesday May 31, 2006 at Maple Hill Farm Inn & Conference Center in Hallowell beginning at 11 a.m. At the event, each semifinalist will receive $100 and a plaque. The three winners of the contest will each receive $2,500.

The semifinalists’ entire stories can be viewed on 20 Below and the contest Web site at The names of the three winners will appear in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

This is the second year of the contest, which is run by the Maine Community College System. Sponsors include the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram,, and U.S. Cellular.

The Journey Into Writing contest is open to all high school juniors and home-schooled students of comparable age. To be accepted, students must submit a short story, essay or poem of up to 1,500 words during the submission period of October 1 to December 1, 2005. The semifinalists are selected by a review committee from the Maine Community College System.


He told me to meet him at 5:27. Not 5:26. Not 5:28. I didn’t understand why.

I left everything I had in Slovenia to move to America and make something – or perhaps something more – of myself. I had no reason to go back, so it came as a surprise when I found his letter in my mailbox.

from “The Letter” by Emily Elizabeth Shinay

Joe Booker did not actually need a new necktie. But as things occasionally work out the way they’re meant to, the scientifically-proven-to-attract-customers displays at Nelson’s Department Store seduced him into buying one. The ties were arranged in a grid, colorized from a deep silken blue and flowing deliciously through the rainbow…

from “Belonging” by Lauren Rodrigue

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