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Writing competition inspires future writers

Posted at 10:14 AM, May 19, 2023

A writing program for middle schoolers here in Ohio is helping create the next generation of authors and it's already responsible for giving one best seller his start.

Justin Reynolds was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and participated in Power of the Pen.

He said he first learned to love writing from his mom.

"She was an educator and a long-time librarian. And so my sister and I practically grew up in the library. And it was just that love for reading that first kind of fostered this desire to want to tell my own stories and get into storytelling," Reynolds said.

He also said his school helped him feed his creative craze.

Reynolds was a member of Elyria Westwood Middle School's Power of the Pen team.

It's a program that is guiding young people across Ohio with a passion for storytelling.

"Whether you're old or you're young, finding your people, kind of finding the people who understand you without you having to explain yourself, Reynolds said. "To this day, it's fueled me that desire to have community and kind of connect with other people through the spirit of storytelling."

He is back in town this week to serve as a judge for this year's state tournament at Ashland University.

Reynolds is one of many guest authors returning the favor for the program that helped elevate their voices.

Program directors say it goes a long way.

"It's so nice to see, you know, alumni come back and do testimonials about what the program meant to them. And they're happy to support it," Eastern Region Director of Power of the Pen Julie Lyberger said. "Students who have recently graduated say how easy it is for them to do their college entrance exams because they're used to writing on the spot."

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