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Maine Community College System--News Release

Students from Newcastle, South Freeport and Lewiston Chosen as Maine's "Young Writers of the Year"

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

HALLOWELL, Maine — Three Maine high school juniors — Siobhan Anderson of Newcastle, Emma Albright of South Freeport and Cassandra Jensen of Lewiston — were picked as the Governor’s Young Writers of the Year today by authors Richard Russo, Linda Greenlaw and Wesley McNair. The authors served as judges for the Maine Community College System’s “A Journey Into Writing” program, a statewide contest open to all high school juniors in Maine.

The authors joined Governor John E. Baldacci, First Lady Karen Baldacci, Education Commissioner Susan Gendron and sponsors of the contest at a luncheon ceremony today to announce the three winners and honor the eight semifinalists. The students came from around the state with family members and teachers to attend the event at Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell.  Also attending were representatives of the program sponsors: the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram,, and U.S. Cellular.

Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons hosted the event. “Maine is blessed with extraordinarily gifted young people, in every corner of the state. We created this contest two years ago to nurture and showcase that talent, and today’s winners show we were right to believe in their talents,” he said.

Governor Baldacci thanked the authors who served as judges for the contest: “Thank you for giving so generously of your time to help mentor our young writers. Your willingness to participate sends a strong message to high school students all across Maine that writing is important,” he said. The Governor announced that the three writers have agreed to continue as contest judges for another year.

Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, said, “All of the students here today have the talent it takes to go on to make a career in writing.” He spoke eloquently about the writing process, describing it as “a place we go inside ourselves where we discover who we are, what we think, and what we believe in and feel.”

Linda Greenlaw, author of three bestselling books about life as a commercial fisherman, said of the young writers, “I am amazed at the level of skills of these students. What I feel right now is pride…that this writing is the product of Maine schools.”

Wesley McNair, the author of eight collections of poetry, and winner of numerous prestigious awards, paid special tribute to the students’ teachers “who helped you believe in yourself.” To the students, he added, “I feel you have a new task, given your great talents. Here's to hoping you go on to bring even more words to life, through writing.”

Siobhan Anderson, a student at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth , won for her poem “Chrysanthemums.”  Emma Albright, who attends Freeport High School, won for her story “Mouse Hunt.” Cassandra Jensen from Lewiston High School won for her story “Nomenclature.”

The other five semifinalists were: Lauren Landry of Lewiston ; Lauren Rodrigue of Lewiston; Emily Shinay of Scarborough; Kinsey Tarbell of Cape Elizabeth; and Erin Watson of Limestone.

Along with earning the title “Governor’s Young Writer of the Year,” each of the three winners received a check for $2,500.  

The three winning students had stiff competition. In all, 214 high school juniors from 74 Maine high schools submitted short stories, essays and poems for the contest. 

The stories of the three winners will be printed in full this Sunday, June 4, in the Maine Sunday Telegram.  The names and submissions of all eight semifinalists can be viewed online at 20 Below, and the contest Web site at (click on: A Journey Into Writing).