FORT KENT — Katherine Howarth, of Rockport, is the first-place winner of a new composition-writing contest at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Other winners of the composition awards include: Second place, Karin Leyon of Westbrook; third place, Heidi Huynh, of Westbrook; as well as honorable mentions, Abigail Pettengill of Wallagass; Emma Landry of Fort Kent; Jenna Cohen of Boothbay Harbor; Megan Thibodeau of Westbrook; Emelia Barker of Topsham; Jackson Thayer of Westbrook; and Summer Saxton of Spanish Fork, Utah. The three winners received a certificate, UMFK swag, and a monetary award. All authors received a free copy of the publication.
The composition contest is the product of a series of writings that are being accumulated and published in a new book series called Composition Series: LIFE Review.
In a Zoom event on April 27, 2021 hosted by English faculty members, Professor Geraldine Cannon Becker and Dr. Joseph Becker, the first book of the series was unveiled.
“We read excerpts from the book, including information from the introduction on the inspiration for the series,” said Professor Geraldine Cannon Becker.
“Simply put, though, the idea for a composition series came from my early experiences in being published through her English courses while I was still in high school. Many of our students come to us while they are still in high school, through Rural U. I wanted students to have a positive experience in writing, because it can be life-changing to see things from another perspective.”
Remembering a favorite interview assignment, Professor Cannon Becker put the idea forward for the assignment in composition courses, and once it was approved, she started planning to make this composition series a reality.
A lot has had to happen behind the scenes, including the starting of a low-to-no profit business: Old Sylvain House Press, LLC. “This is not so much for us as it is for the community,” said Professor Cannon Becker. “This is something we hope will be a service to anyone who would like the opportunity to be published and needs help or guidance through the process.”
“During the Zoom event, we also announced the winners of our first three composition awards and the honorable mentions,” said Dr. Joseph Becker. “The first awards were funded by Joseph E. Becker and Geraldine Cannon Becker.” Initial funding for the first publication was provided by Scott Voisine, through the Rural U program.
All money from book sales goes into the Old Sylvain House Press Award Fund. This Fund was put in place by Professor Cannon Becker and Dr. Becker to benefit the education of students at UMFK and to honor their commitment to the importance of education for young people, specifically in the area of English Language Arts.
On top of paying for the publication of essays written for the Composition Series: LIFE Review project, the Fund will also cover the prizes awarded to winners and an annual scholarship may be awarded to a student who has had an essay published and is pursuing a degree in English Language Arts or other areas of study at UMFK.
UMFK’s Foundation Officer, Shannon Lugdon, would like to note that anyone interested in donating toward the publication or scholarship award could give at UMFK.edu/donate and designate Old Sylvain House Press Award Fund in the memo.
Additional copies of this first edition may be purchased here: https://old-sylvain-house-press-llc.square.site/