Flashes popped and necks craned as family and friends tried to get a glimpse of young authors as they stopped to give interviews on the red carpet at Kilough Elementary School last Thursday.
The second annual Author's Night brought out a crowd dressed to impress and students from pre-K through fifth grade strutted their stuff before reading from their work.
The red carpet greeted students and their families in the entryway of KES.
Teachers and staff, who were also dressed to the nines, lined the runway to get photos and conduct interviews.
"We all love this event," said KES Principal Tracey Compton. "It is a wonderful way to celebrate our students as writers and readers. It is an opportunity for our children to shine, and shine they did last night."
Every child spends the school year putting together a book of their own writings. The books are begun in the fall.
"Most of the students complete multiple entries from a variety of genres so that they are able to showcase their writing talents in multiple ways," said Hillary Mullinax, Title I coordinator and gifted lead teacher at KES.
The books are hard cover and feature artwork designed by the student writer.
"In the end, the child and parent have a physical item (the book) which reveals their journey," Compton said.
Compton said that many parents told her their kids felt famous.
"Everyone looks forward to Author's Night," Mullinax said. ""There's a lot of work that goes into making it all happen on the students' part and the teachers' part. It's an event that takes all year to plan for and the excitement builds with each writing genre that is taught and put into the book."
From the red carpet, students made their way to the individual pods for each grade level.
Along the way were photo booths so parents could get pictures of their own young authors.
In the first grade pod, students read from stories and poems about Santa Claus, polar bears, ground hogs and the sun rising.
"The work put into the books is tremendous," said first grade teacher Kimberly Derose. "Students spend 45 minutes to an hour a day in writing-related tasks that are published in the books. It is exciting to have a bit more than just something to put up on the fridge."
"It is rising. It is rising," read one first grade girl from her poem about the sun.
After visiting in their individual classrooms where teachers had snacks on hand, students prepared for their moment in the spotlight.
First grade students stood in line inside a classroom waiting to take the "stage" and read their work aloud.
"You wouldn't think they'd be nervous reading something that they had worked so long and hard to produce, but they were so nervous," Derose said. "Once they were on stage and saw the response, it was so fun to see them beam with pride as they took their bows in front of the audience."
Derose explained to the parents that the first part of the year the first graders had focused on informational writing, but next up would be opinion writing.
After each author had a chance to read from their work, parents and teachers lined the halls to congratulate them on their way out.
"The goal is to foster Kilough Elementary School's commitment to genuine and authentic collaboration and empower students, parents and teachers to be leaders in increasing student achievement," Mullinax said. "This collaborative leadership ensures that the purpose and direction of the Dawson County School System is met.
An estimated 250 people attended the event.