Arcade Students Sweep 'Tale' Essay Contest

First & Second Place Winners Enjoy Lunch with Author Karen Thompson Walker

Batavia, NY- Two students from the Arcade campus of Genesee Community College enjoyed lunch with author Karen Thompson Walker thanks to their own writing efforts. Kelly Schubert and Laurie Bush placed first and second respectively in the student essay contest sponsored by A Tale for Three Counties. Besides lunch with the author, Schubert and Bush each received a gift card to Barnes & Noble. They participated in the contest at the urging of their College Composition instructor Dr. Kathleen Kries. “I am so excited for them,” said Dr. Kries.

Thompson Walker visited the GCC Batavia campus on Thursday March 20, 2014. Her book, The Age of Miracles, is a New York Times bestseller and has been described as “spellbinding” and “haunting.” The book chronicles the story of adolescent Julia dealing with an altered world as the earth’s rotation slows. One reviewer describes it as “All at once a coming-of-age story and a tale of a frightening possible future, this is a gem that will charm readers as well as give them the shivers.”

A Tale for Three Counties selected The Age of Miracles for its community book discussion program this year. As part of the program, it sponsors the essay contest which is open to GCC students participating in A Tale for Three Counties. Students were limited to a one-page essay of at least 200 words, responding to one of three questions about The Age of Miracles.

Schubert is a freshman at the Arcade Campus Center studying for a certificate as a Medical Office Assistant and pursuing a degree in Business Administration. She plans to go on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in business. She is a non-traditional, adult learner. “After getting my daughter into college [I decided] that it was time for me to go back to school,” she said. “I am loving being back in college and only wish I would have taken it this seriously 21 years ago!” She lives in Sardinia and currently works as Chamber Services Director for the Arcade Area Chamber of Commerce. She thoroughly enjoyed having lunch with Karen Thompson Walker. “She was so open and you could tell she loved meeting everyone.” Schubert returned to hear the author speak in the evening as well.

Bush is also a freshman working toward an associate’s degree in Human Services. After meeting with Thompson Walker Bush writes, “I found myself captivated by the words she spoke just as I did with the words she had written. She is a true artist of literature.” Bush found it interesting to hear how the idea for the book came to life. “[You could] see the excitement in her eyes as she spoke.” A native of Buffalo, Bush and her husband Tom live in Java Village and have three children, Christina (9), Ashley (7) and TJ (6). Once she earns her degree, she plans to work with people who have special needs to help them meet their life goals.

A Tale for Three Counties is a community book discussion program begun and organized by public librarians from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The program encourages people to read a chosen book, discuss it with friends and neighbors, and then meet the author at the conclusion of the program. Learn more about the program at its website

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Editor’s Note:
A photo of Kelly Schubert (left) and Laurie Bush (right) with author Karen Thompson Walker (center) is available here: