Amanda Coplin, the author of "The Orchardist," was back in the community Thursday night to speak at a benefit for Wenatchee High School's award-winning journalism program. The novel, was published in 2012 and has been high on the New York Times list of best sellers.
It had taken the Wenatchee-born Coplin eight years to write the novel and she'd been somewhat of a starving artist until she got her big break. She told the crowd when her mother learned The Orchardist would be published, she started crying and blurted out: "You can take care of yourself." That elicited laughter from parents and students alike.
The event raised funds for WHS's Apple Leaf newspaper and Wa-Wa yearbook programs, which have earned national recognition for excellence. Readers of The World will recall that we ran several stories recently from the Apple Leaf, which has earned a reputation for not shying away from difficult and sometimes controversial stories. Journalism gives students an outstanding real-world experience in ethics, accountability, perseverance and courage.
Coplin encouraged the students to read widely, seek out the best teachers and extract as much knowledge as possible, remain open to new opportunities, and be as disciplined as an athlete about perfecting their craft. That's great advice for aspiring writers but it also holds true for achieving success in any pursuit.
The high school is fortunate to have an experienced former journalist in Dave Riggs as advisor to the school's publications on an interim basis this year. Riggs worked for The World for many years before leaving to go into teaching.
A very special program has been built at the school and supported by the parents and the administration.