The William Carey University School of Education hosted the 10th annual Young Authors' Celebration, a day of honoring young artists while also promoting lifelong reading, writing and visual expression, on March 6 at the Hattiesburg campus. Approximately 450 first through sixth graders from Lamar County, Jackson, Columbia and Jefferson Davis County schools attended.
Activities started in Smith Auditorium with a magic show performed by Scot Jones of Hattiesburg, followed by the opening ceremony with keynote speaker Chad Watson, a music teacher at Oak Grove Upper Elementary School in Hattiesburg. Other guest speakers included Pine Belt restaurant owner and author Robert St. John of Hattiesburg; storyteller Diane Williams of Jackson; artist Kim Garraway-Braley of Hattiesburg; author Diane Sauls of Columbia; counselor Ginny Kemp of Columbia; artist Rick Anderson of Clinton; and Carey faculty members Dr. Read Diket and Christy Liverett.
Throughout the academic year, area educators who signed up to participate as event teachers held writer workshops in their classrooms. In these workshops, students learned about the drafting, editing and publishing stages of writing and illustrating through hands-on experience. Students brought the books they crafted to the event in order to showcase their own work.
At the event, students had the opportunity to meet regional authors and illustrators, participate in a book fair, have lunch and tour the Carey campus. Students were also able to meet Junie B. Jones (portrayed by Dr. Sue Whitcomb, associate professor of education at Carey), a popular book character from a children's series by Barbara Park, and visit with author Paige Cochran of Waynesboro's 8-year-old Shetland pony, Cricket.
The Young Authors' Celebration is funded by the U.S. Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines. The event is led at the Carey campus by Dr. Barry Morris and Dr. June Hornsby from the School of Education.