Lauren Harrigan, a Union Middle School 7th grade student, was a semi-finalist in the 2013 Letters About Literature contest.
There were 47,000 entries from across the county, and 1,334 letters were written by Iowa students. In Lauren's division, there were six winners, 30 finalists and 83 semi-finalists. Lauren was one of the semi-finalists, and she received a certificate to celebrate her achievement and to recognize her enthusiastic participation in the program.
For the contest, students wrote a letter to the author of a book whose writing had a significant impact of their life. The author could be living or dead, but the letter had to explain how the book changed the student's life, not summarize the plot of the book.
Lauren chose to write about The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton which she read in her 7th grade language class this fall.
In her letter, Lauren wrote, "I realized there could be some 'Outsiders' at my school, and I just look past them. Anyone could be, and we just think it's normal. I think understanding this could really change the way you look at other people."
The national Letters About Literature office read all of the 47,000 entries and returned the top letters to each state. A panel of Iowa judges from the Iowa Center for the Book selected Iowa's first, second, and third place winners and three honorable mentions in each level. Students were recognized as winners, finalists, and semi-finalists.
Lauren is a student in the Union Middle School gifted program (SAILS) taught by Mrs. Vada Elliott.