Shorians Qualify For The Michigan Youth Arts Festival

60,000 students apply for entry each year, only about 1,000 are chosen including 9 of Lake Shore’s own. Taught by Colleen Tharme, the creative writing class is meant to help expand students knowledge of writing and break boundaries that you currently faced in their writing. But each year a handful of students are selected to go to the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, starting on Thursday, May 9th and ending on Saturday, May 11th. The Michigan Youth Arts Festival opens up a whole new world of opportunities to show the entire state their talent.

“The Michigan Youth Arts Festival (MYAF) is an annual festival in Michigan where over 1000 students from grades 9-12 participate in showcases, concerts and workshops in any of the represented disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Vocal music, Instrumental Music, Visual art and Theatre,” states the MYAF’s official website.

Students are given the chance to work in various workshops with professional writers in order to improve and evolve their own work. “This year’s students will workshop with Joseph Zettelmaier, a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award,” explains Tharme.

Students are also given the Distinguished Scholar award, which makes each of the attending students an official scholar. They will also be attending various exhibitions and performances all over the Western Michigan University campus.

“I decided to enter students in this festival last year for a couple of reasons.  First, I feel that creative writing is often overlooked because it doesn’t seem as important as writing essays or other types of academic writing.  Writing creatively is an outlet for many young people to sort out the complications of growing up and finding a place in the world. With that in mind, there is an overwhelming amount of talented writers at Lake Shore High School, and I felt that they deserved an audience other than me to showcase their talents.  This type of exposure to academic arts while experiencing college living is such an important opportunity for aspiring writers, artists, and musicians,” says Tharme.

She continues, “ I hope that students see the value of their words and thoughts, and realize the possibilities that writing can offer.

“It means a lot to me that Ms. Tharme would give me this opportunity in the first place to attend it,” says Erica Drumb, junior.

Drumb is one of the handful of individuals that were picked by Tharme to attend the Michigan Youth Arts Festival this spring. Drumb’s hopes are high for this festival as she explains, “I want to get more public about my poetry and get more attention about my work.”

Drumb has also been chosen by MYAF to present her poem to a larger audience, an opportunity that is given to only one student chosen by the MYAF themselves.

  • Marlana DeClaire
  • Erica Drumb
  • Courtney Huber
  • Jessica Luwick
  • Jessica Nowicki
  • Ceilene Roberts
  • Allison Scruggs
  • Katie Steeves
  • Noah Tances

The students chosen for the MYAF are listed above so if you see any of these students in the halls make sure to congratulate them on this, and, if you can, give their works a read. This is a great opportunity for all these authors and each one of them should be incredibly proud.


Written by

Van Dombrowski is a senior at Lake Shore High School who has been writing for The Shoreline for the entirety of his senior year. His passion lies in music, which he hopes to be able to pursue a career in. Though unaware of exactly where he wants to go to college he continues to pursue, despite having no clue of what he's doing.