Future Authors Project Expands to New York, Promoting Writing, Publishing
The Future Authors Project, which began in the School District of Palm Beach County, Fla., more than 10 years ago, started out as a community outreach program by Canon Solutions America's predecessor, Océ North America, and has since grown exponentially. That success has led Canon Solutions America to introduce its Future Authors Project to the school district in Jericho, N.Y.
Open to middle and high school students, the program is designed to expose students to the opportunities that are available in a career in writing and publishing. The success of the program throughout the years has been due to the tremendous enthusiasm and dedication by its organizers, teachers and students.
This year, the Future Authors Project expanded to the Jericho School District - the second school district to participate in the program. According to Robert Ricottone, Senior Sales Director at Canon Solutions America, the company took a One Canon approach this time.
"We had our Enterprise Services and Solutions (ESS) Marketing and Sales divisions, our corporate communications team and the Imaging Technologies and Communications Group participate in the program," said Ricottone. "It is a great program that enables Canon Solutions America to work together with Canon U.S.A. for the betterment of the community and its students."
The week-long summer program brought together 13 students and English teachers from the district for a collaborative and interactive workshop that provided the participants with guidance and insight into the process of writing and editing.
The students also took part in a field trip to the Canon Solutions America's headquarters where they enjoyed a tour of the showroom and a camera instructional class. As part of the class, the students were supplied with a camera to complement their stories with compelling visuals, which added an engaging element to the final printed book.
"The students loved the camera lesson," noted Ricottone, "We loaned out super-high-end professional cameras and they were all super excited to use them. They took excellent lifestyle shots, which came out fantastic in the published book."
English teacher Suzanne Valenza selected the theme of food for the book, called "Sweet and Savory Serendipity," and the students were tasked with writing and taking photos to be included.
"The combination of our dynamic workshop, which helped spur story development ideas and critical thinking skills, with the cameras, helped to bring these great stories centered on food to life," explained Valenza. "The Canon Future Authors program is a way for students to realize their potential as writers. This is a chance for those kids who want to be writers - or who are already writing on their own - to have a real audience and a published book. What could be better than that?"
"Sweet and Savory Serendipity" was printed on a VarioPrint press by a Canon Solutions America customer that has helped print the books for the Palm Beach Future Authors program in the past.
A book signing was held this fall at the Jericho High School, where the students, their families, friends and the teachers who participated in the project attended. Following the celebratory welcome reception, Daniel Salzman, Curriculum Associate of English Language Arts at Jericho High School, gave a presentation on the program to Board of Education members, Jericho Superintendent Hank Grishman and County Legislator Arnold Drucker.
"It was a night of celebration and acknowledgment of our great student authors who embody the spirit of Future Ready education," said Salzman. "We couldn't be prouder of the hard work and concerted effort put forth in this beneficial program. It's been a privilege working alongside Canon Solutions America and we look forward to creating more memories (and books) in the future."
According to Salzman, the Future Authors project gave the students a feeling of empowerment and pride because of all the components involved in producing the finished piece. "It really provided an opportunity for them to express themselves in a completely free and creative way. I think poetry lends itself to that."
Salzman described the book signing as "electric" for the students, as they truly felt like professional authors. "The book signing changed their perspective and demonstrated to them that they were capable of being professional authors," he concluded. "And that's what schools should prepare kids for."