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Queens Chronicle

Rockaway teen’s words win her a scholarship

Chantelle Roulston pens story about Sandy, takes top prize at contest

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Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Thu Mar 14, 2013.

Queens has bred a lot of artists — actors, directors, singers, and even writers. Jack Kerouac wrote here, as did Jimmy Breslin and Mitch Albom.

Perhaps one day 13-year-old Chantelle Roulston of Rockaway Beach will join that list.

LÈman Manhattan Preparatory School — in collaboration with Newbery Award and Printz Honor Award-winning author Jack Gantos — named Roulston the winner of its inaugural Jack Gantos Writing Contest.

“I am extremely honored to be named the winner of the Jack Gantos writing contest,” said Roulston, who will receive a four-year full high school scholarship to LÈman Manhattan Prep — a prestigious college preparatory school.

Gantos hand-selected Roulston after reading her short story, The Droonovarseen, which reflects her anxieties and fears about applying to high school after Sandy, while displaced from her home in the Rockaways and separated from her family.

An avid writer, Roulston said she frequently writes in her journal and draws inspiration from her surroundings and experiences.

Roulston and three finalists were honored on Feb. 16 at LÈman Manhattan during an exclusive writing workshop with Gantos. The workshop was followed by a luncheon with their families and Drew Alexander, LÈman Manhattan’s head of school, who presented them each with a certificate signed by Gantos recognizing their participation and accomplishment.

The writing workshop offered Roulston and the runners-up a rare chance to consult one-on-one with Gantos about their work.

“In developing characters and driving plot, in describing action and scenery, these students are cultivating an invaluable skill set; they are writing creatively, thinking critically and learning to communicate precisely,” said Gantos, who serves on LÈman Manhattan’s Advisory Board. “I truly enjoyed working one-on-one with these talented, young writers. I only hope they will inspire their peers about the wonders of the written word.”

Roulston will begin ninth grade at LÈman in September.

“We are so excited to welcome Chantelle to the LÈman family and are eager to see her thrive,” Alexander said.

Welcome to the discussion.