I started writing when I was 10. I wrote a short science fiction story and found the written word absolutely fascinating. For the next two years, I wrote and hoarded my pieces; I barely shared with myself.
I turned into a teenager and was hit, like all youths, with the realization I was growing up. I had all these stories amassed and no one knew. How long could I keep hiding? Wasn’t that childish?
To fix this problem, I enrolled in the 4-H project, Creative Writing, and forced myself to share.
I’m so glad I did. I have been propelled down the career road of writing. In my first year, I had a poem published and sold my first piece of fiction.
The following year, two essays and an article followed.
By this year, Year Three, I had no doubt I could write fiction, but could I tackle nonfiction also?
This turned out to be a real challenge. By May, I had nearly given up on ever writing a good news report. But I don’t give up easily; I was determined to finish the project.
Margo Bartlett, a local reporter, agrees I could shadow her for a day. I spent eight hours there at the Gazette and, to tell you the truth, I can’t really say or understand what happened.
Barlett told me it was OK to write just feature articles – yet another obvious thought that somehow escaped me – and I flourished.
My adventure continued as I tried out for the state fair. I was selected to participate with a feature article about the 4-H/Labo exchange program.
I was scared and nearly didn’t go. I had shown at state in Creative Writing three years ago and the judge hated my science fiction.
Friends and family encouraged me to go and at least participate, so I went.
Good thing! I was very surprised at how my judge and I sat talking writing styles. I had such a pleasant time; she erased all of my ill feelings.
At the end of the day, all of the feature article 4-H’ers were called up in front of the announcer’s stage. The giggly teen announcers presented three Outstanding of the Day ribbons. I didn’t receive one, but that was A-OK with me; I was just so thrilled my judge was nice.
“And now, for the first-place clock winner… Whitney..”
I leaned way back behind the line of fellow exhibitors. Holy cow! How many Whitneys were there in this line?
“…f…from… Delaware County!”
I started to sway as a little golden clock and large royal purple rosette was placed in my arms.
The rest is a blur. I remember telling the ladies I didn’t think I could sign my name: I was mostly right. My signature wobbled all over the page.
So, I write my thanks to you for sponsoring this award. I never expected this and am still so excited looking at this beautiful clock.
When you read “Whitney L. Prose” in the books or papers, you can know you helped send me there.
Thank you for sponsoring the writing awards at this year’s state fair competition.
This is my last year in 4-H and I won the clock trophy in senior freestyle poetry.
It is awesome to finally have what so many kids work for, and it is thanks to you that this year I walked away with an excellent award.
Thank you for sponsoring the 2003 clock trophy. It is quite an honor to be selected to receive this trophy for Writing and Reporting for Teens.