Over the past eight years, more than 300 Florida middle and high school students graduated from aspiring writer to published author, thanks to the Océ Future Authors Project. The project – whose name will change to the Canon Solutions America Future Authors Program this year to reflect new ownership of the printer manufacturer - was born when the marketing director of Océ North America’s Print Systems Division sought to work with the community of Boca Raton, Fla. Administrators at the District of Palm Beach County were struggling to bring creative writing opportunities to their students after they were hampered by strict budget cuts and standardized tests restrictions. School administrators partnered with Océ and were able to organize a yearly eight-day writing workshop to benefit students and the school district.
The extensive summer writing camp, free to students, offers 40 open slots. Students are chosen for the workshop by Palm Beach certified language arts teachers who judge entries based on their academic accomplishments and desire to pursue careers as published authors. During the workshop, teachers and Canon executives cover all aspects of writing, editing, and digitally publishing books, while 3-5 published authors donate their time to mentor the students. Past author/mentors include Robert Forbes, Jonathon King, and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera.
The culmination of the workshop comes when writings from each student are collected, published, and printed. The unveiling of the book, this year’s publication was Pens and Paper: Our Weapons of Mass Construction (Nov, 2012), occurs at the Spanish River Public Library where students gather to sign copies of their work for readers. Copies are available to purchase for $5 through the school district’s offices or inside the library.;100% of the book’s profit goes back into the fundraising arm of the school district; Future Authors fund at the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.