NEWTON GROVE — Camryn Carr’s family cat and a group of visiting felines served as inspiration for a fun story to teach young children about the nation and to earn its author a state award.
The Hobbton High School sophomore received third place in Authors on America, a competition sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Foundation. With the assistance of illustrator Carlos Serna, “The Cat and the Constitution,” was one of the top stories selected in the state. J.Scott Flowers, a board member of NCBA’s Law-Related Education, presented Camryn and Carlos with awards Thursday.
“I’m just honored that I had the privilege to find out about this and that I was able to participate,” Carr said.
The purpose of Authors on America is to give high school authors and illustrators the opportunity to create books that teach kindergartners and first graders about the United States and civics. Contest winners were awarded after a committee of attorneys judged the contest. According to the organization, the guidelines were based on accuracy of content, relevance and creative illustrations.
Carr’s story follows a cat belonging to George Washington. During the tale, the cat makes a government for his friends while his owner is busy making one for the country.
“It was hard coming up with a concept to go with,” the Hobbton student said. “After I got a title and what I wanted to talk about, it just came naturally.”
Her mother, Jackie Carr, was present and mentioned how their home receives visits from about ten cats in the afternoon. The encounters helped sparked the idea for the book.
“She took that, ran with it and did a wonderful job,” Ms. Carr said proudly.
As she discussed the making of the book, she thanked her schoolmate for assisting.
“I’m thankful that Carlos could take the time to illustrate it for me,” she said about his work which visually brought the story to life.
Carly Fogleman, social studies teacher, was also presented with an award. Principal Jennifer Daughtry and Fogleman said they were proud of the efforts of both Carr and Serna.
“They both demonstrate leadership in the classroom, as well as a love for learning about government,” Fogleman said. “I personally feel privileged to be their teacher.”
During the presentation, Flowers said “The Cat and the Constitution” will be used in the Lawyers 4 Literacy, a program which helps children with literacy and provides coaches and mentors, who are legal professionals.
“It’s really nice to have Hobbton here in Sampson and Eastern North Carolina to be recognized in a statewide competition,” he said. “From what I understand, the competition was very fierce. So it’s nice to see a school like Hobbton from a rural community that can stand up and compete with the school in Raleigh and Charlotte and come out on top.”