MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University Interim President David Haynes and his wife, Vice President for Advancement Martha Haynes, spent Tuesday afternoon hearing a variety of stories from area students.
The students, as part of the Marquette-Alger Young Authors Conference, regaled the couple with stories of bike accidents, birthdays and favorite things.
Ranging in grade level from kindergarten through fifth grade, the students came from schools across Marquette and Alger counties, ready to read stories they had written and illustrated themselves.
Bothwell student Dana Clark reads to Interim President David Haynes and Vice President Martha Haynes during Young Authors on Northern Michigan University's campus Tuesday. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
K.I. Sawyer Elementary School third-grader Samuel Compton was on hand to read his story about a bike ride with his dad that ended in an accident, which taught Compton to always wear a helmet.
Compton's parents, Christine and Wesley T. Compton, said the program offered a great way for their son to express himself.
"He's always writing stories," Christine Compton said. "I think it's great. It gives the kids an opportunity to express themselves in their stories."
Also reading to the Haynes were: Aspen Ridge Elementary School kindergartner Isabelle Marta; Sandy Knoll Elementary School first-grader Brazil Rekshan; Superior Central Schools second-grader Hudsen Cady; home-schooled second-graders and twins Nora and Fiona Barch; Cherry Creek Elementary School third-grader Rebekah Gethers; and Bothwell Middle School fifth-graders Jada Clark and Gabby Swajanen.
The event kicked off the annual Marquette-Alger Young Author's Conference, which will see thousands of students converge on NMU's campus next week to share their stories with each other and meet children's author Kristine O'Connell.
This year's program has a poetry focus, according to organizer Trish Sippola, and some of the students who read to the Haynes read several of their own hand-written poems.
O'Connell, who has published several books of poetry for children, will be at Peter White Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for a book signing.
The event is open to the public.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.