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A thousand words to explain a picture

The Dakota County Libraries held a short story writing contest for teens. And while participation wasn't huge the stories that resulted were wonderful.

"I was very impressed with their creativity," said Gladys Kim, teen librarian for Robert Trail Library. "I'm just amazed when kids take the time to sit down and write."

In all, 19 middle school students and nine high school students participated. To get inspiration the students were asked to look at a picture of a guitar in a field with a person in the background and write a story based on it. From that one picture very different stories emerged.

Kyla Bills, 13, of Rosemount, wrote her story from the perspective of a musician getting a picture taken for an album cover and the commotion surrounding it. While Brianna Albers, 15, of Rosemount, wrote about a young man finding his dreams in the field full of golden grass.

Four Rosemount students placed in the contest. The winners in the 12- to 14-year-old category were: first place, Victoria Rabuse, Mendota Heights; second place, Kyla Bills, Rosemount; third place, Sierra Wahlin Rhoades, Rosemount; and honorable mention, Amanda Karges.

In the 15-to 18-year-old category the winners were: first place, Ruthiey Carrie, Apple Valley; second place, Molly Blaeser, Lakeville; third place, Brianna Albers, Rosemount; and honorable mention, Amy Kuller, Eagan.

The students received prizes including books and gift certificates for winning. The more exciting part of the process, though, is the stories will be put into a soft cover book that will be available at the Robert Trail Library.

The contest was part of October's Teen Read Month. Kim said part of promoting read is writing. She said teens who write are likely to read.

Teachers at Rosemount Middle School and Rosemount High School promoted the contest to their students.

Middle school teacher Christin Carlson said the contest is a good way to expose students to a large audience.

"They are more engaged in their writing when they have a broader audience," said Carlson.

As for getting kids to read more Carlson said exposing students to writing definitely encourages them to read because they get a sense of the process and components that go into creating a good story.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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