2014 Forrest Preece Young Author’s Award

Each year, local arts patron and all-around fantastic guy, Forrest Preece, and his wife Linda Ball, honor two of the young writers in our Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp. This honor, the Forrest Preece Young Authors Award, recognizes the literary accomplishments and creative talents young people in our community.

We are pleased to celebrate this year’s winners, third-grader Brandee Benson, and ninth-grader Jenna Hoover. Last Friday, November 7, Forrest formally presented the awards to Brandee and Jenna at our annual Illumine gala.


We’re so grateful to Forrest and Linda for supporting celebrating the artistic achievements of Austin’s youth. In addition, we must thank our teaching instructors who share their talents with young creative writers.

Congratulations to Brandee and Jenna, whose winning pieces are published below.


Journey of a Baby Tooth

I am a tooth, a baby tooth. I wonder why I am called that, since, I mean, I am eight-years-old! When I was born, I found out I was attached to the pink stuff above me, and then I saw my brothers and sisters growing  around me, and we had to work really hard, pounding this icky, chewy   stuff. I also realized each of us were connected to one giant piece of the pink stuff, and I do have to admit, I grew pretty attached to mine. We were best buddies, and we loved each other dearly.

Each night, we would see this really scary razor thingie, and my pink thing and I avoided it as much as possible. Then I turned yellow for some reason. So, anyway, when the razor thingie came, it also had this gooey stuff that made us blue, and then we got rinsed. The worst part was when they stuck a hard rope between my brothers and sisters and me. Worst of all, it hurt my pink thing, so he was sad.

One day, I found that my older sister downstairs was wiggling free from her pink thing, and we talked a lot together about it. Then one day, she fell completely off her pink thing! We were so shocked! The last words she said before she was taken out of the house were “I will miss my pink thing!” Then she was gone. We were silent for a moment, and then someone else screamed, “I’m loose, too!” After that, it was chaos. My brothers and sisters became loose and fell, one after another.

We noticed a new baby tooth growing in an old baby tooth’s place. He was rather shy, so we each said hello to him. We welcomed him into the family. I didn’t startle anyone because I did not tell them that I was loose. Soon, I fell out, and everyone gasped. The last words I said were, “I love you all!”

I was put in a dark box and was delighted to find my lost brothers and sisters. We rejoiced, and I had a great, fun life in that box, where we were free. But I hope the new baby teeth will take care of our pink things and be happy.

Brandee Benson
3rd grade


Watches, Waltzes and Other Weightless Things

She carries a splint.
Not so much carries but wears,
a thing forced upon her wrist to
help a healing bone,
though it hasn’t done much
by way of healing.

She carries a bracelet.
Woven by a friend, it
rests on her right wrist always,
leaving red marks on her
pale, freckled skin when she writes.
It’s come slightly unraveled a
few times, one end poking through
in an attempt to escape,
though it hasn’t done much
by way of escaping.

She carries a jacket,
a red and white affair with
the number 13 on it in white
thread, a reversed zipper that
confused her at first but no
longer does. It’s a shield, in her
mind, a neon sign that reads, No, I’m
not different. Yes, I play soccer, or
used to,
though it hasn’t done much
by way of shielding.

She carries a fob watch,
the chain long enough to
nearly reach her waist, but
it’s of no consequence to her.
It’s newer than her other things,
with only a few days
separating now and when her
best friend gave it to her as an
almost-two-months-late present, but
timing doesn’t matter, the gift is
the important thing, a
reminder of their friendship,
as though she would
ever forget,
so it hasn’t done much
by way of reminding.

Above all, she carries
the words in her head,
a dance of letters unique to
herself, and the waltz seems
never to end, so she snatches up
a pencil and scribbles, the
scrawlings her way of explaining
the world to herself and
herself to the world,
though they never seem to do much
by way of explaining.

Jenna Hoover
9th grade

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s