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Sixty Students Complete Océ Future Authors Writing Workshop

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Press release from the issuing company

Boca Raton, FL (July 22, 2008)  – Their pens were flying and ears perked as about 60 lucky students from middle and high schools throughout Palm Beach County, including 10 Glades area students who participated via distance learning, received writing tips from such well-known local authors as Jonathon King, Margaret Ahnert, and James O. Born.

The free eight-day writing workshop held at Boca Raton High School was offered for the third year as part of the Océ Future Authors Writing Project, a collaborative effort by Océ North America and the School District of Palm Beach County.  During the summer workshop students become published authors, learn how to improve their writing skills, gain hands-on understanding of how authors are published, and learn about today's digital print and publishing opportunities.

Students gain insight through interactions with Océ executives, as well as published authors, who lead interactive discussions with the students.  The day-long sessions are taught by certified Palm Beach County teachers, who conduct daily writing exercises, coaching sessions and writing practice.  Works from each student are then compiled and digitally printed in final book form by Boca Raton-based Océ North America Production Printing Systems division.  The book will be unveiled at a book signing event in November. 

One Future Author, Blithe Parsons, who will be a freshman this fall at Wellington High School, enjoyed the workshop because it gave her the chance to write freely and uninterrupted for more than an hour each class. 

"Personally, I loved the workshop," she said.  "One of my dreams is to become a published author, so I plan to apply what the authors discussed, like writing every day and being persistent."

Atlantic High School senior Kenneth Rodriguez, Jr. has had a love of writing since 8th grade and hopes to have writing as part of his future career.  He said the workshop activities made all of the students think about what it takes to be an author. 

"My favorite activity was where we were handed subjects, verbs and nouns that didn't match and we had to put them into a story," he said.  "It really made us think. I would definitely recommend this program to my friends."

Mary Wilson, an assistant principal at Roosevelt Middle School, helped to create the Océ Future Author program and serves as the academic coordinator.

"In coordinating this program, I work with such uniquely-talented teachers, Stephanie Tomaselli and Pamela Baker, both from Carver Middle School, and Peter Birkett, from Pahokee Middle/Senior High," she said.  "They are exceptional instructors with a gift for reaching and inspiring students to write their hearts out."

School District of Palm Beach County Board Member Mark Hansen, who has supported the program since its beginning, says efforts like this exemplify the importance of public-private partnerships that bring unique educational opportunities to students.

"Companies like Océ that contribute their resources and expertise to further the education process are a vital component of our school system," he said.  "It's been a pleasure to watch the faces of students light up when they see their own writings published in a real book.  Everyone benefits from creative programs like this one."

Sheryl Pattek, vice president of marketing services for Océ North America's Production Printing Systems division in Boca Raton, says her company is committed to creating an inspiring educational program for our youth.  "We are proud to be working with the School District to support a venture that has proven to cultivate a love of writing and reading among students."

As founders of the Future Authors program, Océ executives believe the age of digital publishing will open up more opportunities for these aspiring authors. "Digital printing technologies are revolutionizing the business of book publishing," added Pattek. "Publishers can now cost-effectively print books in run lengths anywhere from 1 to 10,000 creating exciting opportunities for new talent-like these future authors-who now can get their works published.  It brings a rich diversity of books to market for all of us to enjoy.  As a leader in providing digital printing solutions for the book industry, Océ is delighted to support the Future Authors program and to help make each student's dream a reality."

For information on how to support the Océ Future Authors Writing Project, contact Mary Kay Murray, executive director of the District of Palm Beach Education Foundation at murrymk@palmbeach.k12.fl.us or visit www.oceusa.com/futureauthors.

 

 

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