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Winton Hills Students Win National Book Award

Five young girls at Winton Hills are now published Authors. LeMia Allen, Nevaeh Burton, Dai'ajanae Arrington, Alaysia McKenzie, and McKenzie Williams wrote about their local hero: Linda Bates. They interviewed Bates, a retired paraprofessional at Winton Hills, about her life, took notes and illustrated the entire book. Once complete, they submitted the book to the National Youth Foundation.

National Youth Foundation, a nonprofit that holds several workshops and competitions surrounding youth literacy, aims to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through literary programs. The Winton Hills students entered the Amazing Women’s Edition competition, a team writing contest emphasizing kindness and anti-bullying.

Williams said. "The journey of writing the book was fun, and we had a lot of happy moments. We colored, drew and took turns speaking for the audiobook."

They not only got to experience art and writing, but representation and compassion.

"Well, they wrote about me because they enjoyed my attitude, how I interacted with the students and with anyone that talked to me. They liked the kindness that came forth, and my joy. My mother always told me to do unto others as you want to be done unto you," Bates said.

The young girls learned the importance of hard work and dedication.

"It was fun, but sometimes we had our specials, like music, art and gym. So during gym, we had to stay back, and sometimes we would get tempted to go to the gym," McKenzie said, "but it was fun and worth it."

Each girl was awarded $100, a hard bound copy of their book, a new laptop and a new perspective on writing.

Jim Anderson, Alpha Delta Boule, Partner with National Youth Foundation said, “I think it's wonderful we have given them the tools to reach out and do a little more. I believe iron sharpens iron and these young ladies with these different skills have helped sharpen each other to produce this wonderful book. To go from an idea to a publication is wonderful.”