Océ, a Canon Group company and an international leader in digital document management, recently unveiled the sixth in a series of Océ Future Authors Project books written by Palm Beach County middle and high school students. Blood, Sweat & Words was presented to students, parents, school administrators and community officials at a book signing held at the City of Boca Raton Spanish River Library.
One of the new authors, Farrah Fox, a sixth grader at Don Estridge Middle School, said she has loved writing since an early age and found her experience as an Océ Future Author further motivation for her to pursue a career in the arts.
“The writing workshop taught me a lot,” she said. “I understand how to write better; how to make the reader actually feel what I write. The book is so much more than I expected. I now know I want to do something with the arts.”
Triton Payne, a seventh grader at BAK Middle School of the Arts, opened the book signing program with the reading of his poem, “Recovery by Sarah.” His dream is to be a writer and play music the rest of his life. “I learned how to take writing and run with it and create a beautiful work of art,” he said.
A junior at Glades Central High School, Perisha Smith read her piece, “Hate and Anger,” to the crowd of more than 100 people at the book signing. She wants to be a professional R&B songwriter and found the program to be a pleasant surprise. “I did not expect to learn as much as I did,” she said. “I learned how to be more detailed and descriptive in my writing—to paint a picture for the reader.”
Congratulations for the young published authors were expressed by Francis McMahon, Vice President of Marketing, Océ North America Production Printing Systems; City of Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel; Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri; and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janis Andrews.
Océ began the program in 2006 in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County. The program was created as a way to inspire young people to pursue their love of writing and reading. During the eight-day free writing workshop, participants hear from well-known authors, learn new writing skills from licensed language arts teachers and are coached through a variety of writing exercises. As a result, students improve their writing and critical thinking skills, develop an understanding of how authors are published, and learn about today’s digital print and publishing opportunities. Student writings are compiled, professionally published and digitally printed in final book form on Océ production printing system equipment.
This year’s program was made possible thanks to generous grants from the Lawrence Sanders Foundation; Maroone, an AutoNation Company; and Xplor International, a not-for-profit educational and networking association serving users and suppliers of document technologies.
“Programs like this offer students an invaluable opportunity to expand their educational experience,” said Janis Andrews, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Division of Curriculum. “We are grateful for this private-public partnerships with Océ.”
McMahon says his company is proud to have started this program, which reflects the company’s desire to put their book publishing and digital printing expertise to work in the local community.
“Thanks to this program, nearly 300 Palm Beach County students over the past six years have enjoyed the thrill of becoming published authors,” he said.