Lapeer High School sophomore Juliette Woodcum didn’t expect to see her name in a national publication anytime soon. In fact, when she received a letter in the mail last summer from the American Library of Poetry, she’d long since forgotten about her submission.
While other students find their passion on an athletic field or in the concert hall, she has a passion for the written word.
“I knew it was a long shot, but I figured that there was no harm in putting some extra time into a piece and submitting it,” said Juliette, who was encouraged to do so by her teacher at the time, Mrs. Amy Conger.
As it turned out, it wasn’t as long a shot as she thought. Her work, entitled “My Best Friend,” is now included in the Library’s publication of young adult poetry. Less than 20 percent of the writers who submitted their work were included in the publication.
At the end of the poetry unit with Mrs. Conger, students, including Juliette, were encouraged to enter the contest. She sent her submission and didn’t think twice about it. After all, it wasn’t her first foray into the competitive field of creative writing (she wrote her first piece in Kindergarten, a Halloween-themed story in the style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You see?) and it wouldn’t be her last.
“Once I started my freshman year at Zemmer, I took Mrs. Conger’s Creative Writing course,” said Juliette, who is a member of the OMNI Council, Key Club and serves as a Lightning Ambassador at LHS. “I had similar classes, but none were like the class she taught. I really had to push myself to do better and better with every passing day.”
Her teacher was not at all surprised by the outcome.
“Juliette is a critical and creative thinker who takes pride in her written work down to the last detail,” said Conger. “She also put forth great effort to provide meaningful feedback to classmates about their poems and stories to ignite their thinking and help inspire them to be better writers.”
For Juliette, her passion for writing is something that will stay with her forever. She can scarcely remember a time when it wasn’t a part of her life.
“When it comes to writing, I’ve had a pencil in my hand since my motor skills allowed it,” said Juliette, who writes every day and aspires to become a professional writer.
Two years ago, she wrote a piece about her goals for college that was on display at Saginaw Valley State University throughout her eighth grade year.
“Perhaps someday my novels will stand alone in bookstores and be sold across the nation,” she said.
There’s no doubt Mrs. Conger will be the first one in line.