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Budding Authors Find Inspiration At Wantagh High School

Pictured: Author Lawrence Dupkin, center, a former custodian at Wantagh High School, spoke to juniors about his book, “Jeb on the Farm.”

Photo courtesy of the Wantagh School District

Juniors at Wantagh High School are learning what it takes to be successful authors. As they venture into children’s book writing, they got advice from someone also fairly new to the world of publishing.

Lawrence Dupkin, a former custodian at Wantagh High School, wrote “Jeb on the Farm: A Short Story of Jebediah T. Hornswaggle.” As he tours the country to promote his first book, which was published in March 2023, he made a stop at the school to speak with students in Christopher Rafferty’s English class.

On March 19, Mr. Dupkin discussed his journey, from coming up with an idea for the book to finding a publisher to promoting it. Noting that the characters in the book embody himself and his children, he encouraged students to use their own experiences in their writing, even in fiction books.

After speaking to the class, he then walked around the room to answer questions and give advice as each group worked on their storyboards.

“It was great for students to see a real-life example of someone who went through the process and got it done,” Mr. Rafferty said.

After taking the English Regents in January, Mr. Rafferty said wanted to give his students a project that allowed them to tap into their creativity. His class was also inspired by reading to students at Forest Road Elementary School, via videoconference, for World Read Aloud Day in February.

Each group had to come up with original characters, a plot, conflict and resolution for their book while keeping in mind the age group of their target audience. Students will make digital books using Book Creator. They will vote on their favorite book and the winning group will have a paper copy published through the school library.

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