Recent MPHS graduates Lauren Southerland and Ashley Rodriguez achieved the last of their high school goals—to win a national award for their K-3 Children’s book. Southerland and Rodriguez earned their trip to Nationals by placing in the Top 5 at the state competition earlier in March. They attended the Educators Rising National Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas from June 22-25. In the end, their book placed in the top 10 out of 60 entries at the National competition.

The book, titled “The Friends of the Sun”, is a story from the sun’s perspective introducing each planet in a unique way for students to remember their place in the solar system. Rodriguez and Southerland spent a little over 3 months writing, painting, and putting the book together. “Our goal over all was to bring an enjoyable moment for any reader to have while reading and exploring science in a different perspective,” said Southerland.

“With all the efforts these future educators have put forth in creating the storyline, illustrations, and presentation, it is no wonder they have excelled in competitions state and nationwide,” said MPHS TAFE Advisor, Aimee Sweeden. “I am beyond proud of Ashley and Lauren. These girls have made it easy to teach as they truly have a heart for children and a passion for education. I cannot wait to work alongside these young ladies as teachers and ambassadors for education.”

Pictured: L to R Lauren Southerland and Ashley Rodriguez