CANTON  Lauren Kelly, a Jackson Township resident and seventh-grader at St. Michael’s Catholic School, has been writing short stories since she was seven-years-old. This year, however, was the first time she has entered her writing in competitions. Kelly said her parents always told she was a good writer, now there are many organizations that are showing her how much they appreciate her talent.

She took first place in the seventh and eighth grade Star Count Bar Association’s, There Ought to Be a Law with her essay, "There Ought to Be a Law to End Bullying Once and For All." She earned $50 with that award.

She placed 12th overall in the recent Power of the Pen Regional Tournament held in April at Kent State University, earning her a spot at the state tournament held at Wooster College on May 25. Kelly also earned a Regional Scholastic Writing Honorable Mention Award in the Memoir Category from the Scholastic Art and Writing awards. Her essay titled, "A New Start," was about her moving to Ohio from Florida prior to starting kindergarten.

Kelly placed first in Division II of the Ohio Letters About Literature Competition. She wrote a letter to author Natalie D. Richards about her book "We All Fall Down." She was recognized at the Cleveland Public Library and awarded a $100 check. Her letter has advanced to the national competition.

Lauren said she gets her inspiration for her writing from real life,

"I write about things that have happened in my life and about my thoughts," she said.

Kelly has big goals for her professional life, including becoming either a singer, actress or a writer. She would also like to be a poet or write books.

Her writing teacher at St. Michael’s School, Amy Krojeck, said that Kelly is a prolific writer for a seventh-grader.

"She’s willing to take feedback and to make changes in her writing, she’s constantly working, and I can tell it’s cathartic for her to write and get her thoughts out on paper," Krojeck said.

Krojeck incorporates writing contests into the curriculum. She believes in the authentic audience experience as well as the power of being recognized b y others beyond the classroom teachers.

"Lauren is a well-rounded student who excels at academics and sports. She’s proven herself to be a gifted writer, but she also placed second in the 12-year-old division of the Knights of Columbus State Championship Free Throw Competition."

St. Michael's Principal Claire Gotti also has nothing but praise for Kelly.

"It’s a pure joy for a teacher to have a student in their class like Lauren," Gotti said.

Kelly's favorite authors are Natalie D. Richards and Ian Harding. She choose to write her letter to Richards because of the basis of her book, "We All Fall Down."

"I like that book because one of the characters has anxiety and I experience general anxiety," Kelly said. "Plus, the book has two friends that are no longer friends and don’t speak to each other anymore and it’s something I can relate to.