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Posted on Aug 6, 2015

Off to the write start

Ten-year-old Emma Foley wants to be a writer someday. And the Quincy girl is off to a good start.
Foley recently won the runner-up prize for the Scholastic Books contest “Be a Backyard Hero.”
Young participants had to submit a story that incorporated two of Scholastic Magazine’s characters – Turf Mutt and the Outdoor Powers – and taught elementary school children about the environmental sciences.
Foley wrote a story about how Turf Mutt and the Outdoor Powers save the environment. Foley’s essay told the story of how the characters protected the planet from mudslides, dust-devils and carbon dioxide. She submitted it last fall. Winners were announced at the end of the school year.
“I was really shocked,” said Foley, who will be in the fifth grade this year at Quincy Valley School.
Foley’s teacher, Ruth Royer, submitted her story to the Scholastic contest.
“I am just so proud of Emma,” Royer said. “She’s a naturally gifted writer, a hard worker and an excellent student. She has aspirations of being a famous author someday. This made me especially excited for her when I found out she had won this national contest.”
Foley loves creative writing because it allows her the freedom to express herself how she wants, she said. Plus, she’s environmentally conscious, so the contest was to her liking. The essay allowed Foley to express her concern over problems that are happening in the environment near her home and across Washington.
When it comes to the environment, Foley is inspired by her mom Jacki Harwood. They often go on hikes together and pick up garbage they see along the trail. Harwood believes picking up the litter teaches children to be responsible, and it leaves the area better for the next person who comes along.
“I think the state of Washington is getting bad,” Foley said. “You can drive and see a lot of pieces of trash. If we keep doing this, we are not even going to be able to survive here. There will be too much litter.”
Although Foley didn’t win the first-place price — $5,000 to go toward improving a green space at the winner’s school – she won a copy of the Scholastic book “Planet Earth: A guide to the Planet.”
“I barely remembered she entered the story in the contest,” Harwood said. “I remember she came home and said she hoped she got runner-up so she could win the book. I am so proud of her.”
“The book is interesting,” the young author said. “It has a lot of facts. I read more than I play on the playground anyway.”
Foley is not stopping here. She’s writing a book about her cat that she hopes to get published.
“I feel like this is showing me what I am meant to do,” Foley said of the distinction. “We all have a purpose and this is mine.”


— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor

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