This last week we sent out notifications to the teachers in our contest to let them know if they still had students who had not given permission to be published. I received an email back that one teacher has done all she could, but one of her student’s mother gave a verbatim “no”. The teacher was puzzled why a mother would say that.
There are many scams on the internet that accept everything that is entered in a contest. They have as their sole purpose to sell books. Often there is a fee to be published or you are required to purchase a book. That is not who we are.
Giving permission helps to recognize students who have earned a reward. As a parent and teacher I am very protective of my children. However, I would never conceptualize not allowing them to receive recognition for an accomplishment.
We have so many students who have taken this accomplishment and used it to make a difference in their lives. I have the attitude to always let other people limit my options. In college I applied for over 40 scholarships and received 36 rejection letters. The four I received paid for tuition, books, and a little left over. If I didn’t apply, I would not have received anything. However, when a student enters a contest, is recognized, and has put forth the effort, then finishing the process and getting recognition is important.
To release a student’s art or writing, we have to receive verification that each winner created an original work and get permission. Each year about 10% of the students we have chosen as winners fail to give permission. This could be because the work is not original or they just thought returning permission is no big deal.
If you have students enter a contest, then be a finisher. Follow the contest through to completion.
Have a great day.
I often have parents ask what it means to be published in one of our books. For our students, it means that their work was better than most of their peers. However, from that top tier, we always have a few student poets and artists who move on to the next level. We give them a start when they are in school, and then they take that beginning and make their own dreams come true and become a professional poet or artist.
Jasmine Kang is one such student. Now a graduate from San Jose University, we published her before she went to college. Moving beyond our publication, she kept writing and published a book of poems, River of Light. This anthology of her poems received Honorable Mention at the Paris Book Festival and was a USA Book News “Best Books 2010” award finalist. Jasmine stated in an email, “Writing and art are some things I really feel for. It’s not about selling and making money, but about the passion, about sharing and spreading inspiration.”
For each book that we create, there are a few sparks that ignite into a passion for writing. We never know who these life long writers or artists will be. As you look at each student in your classes, you always have to remember that every famous writer or artist started somewhere. We love it when teachers have their students participate. We know that among the thousands of students we work with each year, a few will move on to the next level. As teachers, we never know who that one student will be. They might just be a student in your classroom this year, but by having them compete in our contests, you are giving them a chance at receiving recognition. For one teacher, years ago, Jasmine may have just been a student who entered a contest. Today, she is a writer with her own anthology and several awards. Every famous writer started somewhere. For Jasmine, we were a part of her beginning. Thank you Jasmine.