The Streak

Librarian Continues a Legacy

The+Horizon%E2%80%99s+Young+Writers%E2%80%99+Conference+has+been+running+strong+for+38+years.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Margaret+Devine%29+
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Librarian Continues a Legacy

The Horizon’s Young Writers’ Conference has been running strong for 38 years. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Devine)

The Horizon’s Young Writers’ Conference has been running strong for 38 years. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Devine)

The Horizon’s Young Writers’ Conference has been running strong for 38 years. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Devine)

The Horizon’s Young Writers’ Conference has been running strong for 38 years. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Devine)

Madisen Snyder, Layout Editor

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A group of middle and high school students met at the Warren County District Building in early December for the annual Horizon’s Young Writers’ Conference, with guest speaker Paul-Victor Winters.

As a Warren Hills alumnus (‘90), Winters said he attended the Young Writers’ Conference when he was in high school as well; from seventh grade up until his senior year.

“Speaking at this year’s conference, I was nostalgic, of course, and quite impressed with the talent of Warren Hills students,” he said. “I appreciate your willingness to plunge into some tough poems and challenging writing prompts.”

Winters said the conferences had originally started in 1980 by the Horizons art teacher at the time, Sally Kugelmeyer.

“The conference was sometimes a two-day event, sometimes including travel, often pulling in several professional writers, and usually culminating in a school-published anthology of student work,” he said. “Ms. Devine and I met at one such event more than thirty years ago!”

The conference’s coordinator and librarian, Margaret Devine, also attended from seventh grade until senior year (1980-1986).

“I was intimidated, yet at the same time, inspired and supported by the high school students who attended,” said Devine. “Over time, I became one of those high school kids who helped the younger kids.”

Winters said that his experiences from the conferences gave him a “leg up” in his writing career.

“I’m quite sure that the Young Writers Conferences of my high school years absolutely afforded me the opportunity to think of myself as a legitimate writer,” he said. “The sort of skills honed at these conferences are the sort of skills needed for serious creative and analytical literary work.”

Devine agreed, saying that the conferences and Kugelmeyer’s support for the arts is the reason she became an English teacher.

“Sally was the first teacher I encountered when I entered middle school who taught us what creativity truly was,” she said. “She also taught us that creativity permeated everything we did, and every art form. This allowed me to take risks that I believe I never would have taken.”

In hopes to give students the same opportunities that she had as a high school student, Devine honors Kugelmeyer’s legacy by continuing the conferences that she started.

“ I clearly remember her laugh, her supportive words, and her constantly pushing us and challenging us to ‘do our best,’” she said. “This made a huge impact on me as a student, and I want to honor Sally, and be that voice that supports and challenges our students and provides them unique opportunities to write.”

 

 

 

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Librarian Continues a Legacy