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On January 9, Claire Cheney and Miriam Lawrence will head to Miami, Florida as part of the National Advancement for the Arts (NFAA) National ARTS Week. Two of 127 students chosen from a pool of thousands of talented high school applicants to the NFAA’s ARTS program, Miriam and Claire won in the writing category; Claire in poetry and Miriam in poetry and fiction.

Encouraged by English teacher Jim Connolly, Miriam and Claire each submitted a portfolio of manuscripts last fall. The portfolios, reviewed by a panel of judges whose combined experience includes extensive teaching and publishing, were judged on language, originality, imagination and overall excellence. Miriam won for her short story entitled Houses, while Claire won with a group of poems ‹ Smoke Jumper, Elegy, Regeneration and Sums.

The all-expenses paid week, will include master classes, workshops, readings, seminars, performances and a formal gala. As a result of participating in the program, the girls also qualify for college scholarships and the opportunity to be named presidential scholars.