Kim Peretz is a 10th-grade author who attends Canyon Crest Academy. Last year, she wrote and published a book titled Dani’s Diary: 7th Grade in a Nutshell – the story of the trials and tribulations of a seventh grader. This year, she’s taking that passion for writing all the way to Washington, D.C., where she’s been selected to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference as a National Youth Correspondent representing California and Canyon Crest Academy.
The six-day event takes place on the campus of George Mason University, just outside the D.C. area in Virginia. Mason is both the largest public university in Virginia and one of the most culturally diverse universities in the nation. The conference takes place in July, and its curriculum includes hands-on learning with industry leaders from international media outlets and Washington insiders, as well as members of the Mason faculty. National Youth Correspondents will experience an integrated and forward-thinking approach to journalism and media, while acquiring valuable “in-the-trenches” knowledge.
Peretz is one of only 25 students across the nation who’ve been accepted into this program, and she says she didn’t even apply for it. In fact, it was quite a shock when she found out she was chosen.
“Actually, one day I just opened a letter addressed to me from the conference,” she said. “It stated that I was unanimously nominated to represent California and Canyon Crest Academy based on my academic excellence and success in journalism and writing. I was thrilled and very excited! I still don’t have any idea who nominated me for the conference so I am very grateful for the opportunity that was presented to me.”
The more she thought about going, the more excited she got about the prospects that await her.
“I am very excited to be able to participate in such a prestigious conference that brings the young writers of our country together. The conference is set to feature a lot of political journalism which is a field that I find very interesting. I am also very excited to meet new individuals that hold the same passion that I do and are eager to make a difference in the world.”
Peretz says that when she graduates from high school, she wants to go to college to study political science, and then hopefully go on to law school. “Many people know me for being a passionate writer,” she says, “but law is one of my greatest passions. I love competing for my school’s mock trial team and reading a lot of books about our justice system. I find it so interesting.”
This newspaper published an article about Peretz when she first wrote her book, Dani’s Diary. Now, six months later, Peretz says she had to overcome a major challenge back then. “I think one of my biggest challenges was being scared to share my writing. I was worried at first what others may think. Many authors can agree that your own writing tends to be very sacred to your heart. But I think with time, I began to understand that my writing was my biggest asset. It gives me a voice in this world and opens up a door for me as a teen to make an impact.”
Peretz has since met several readers of her book, and she says, “It really put in perspective how much my book has made an impact—I have never been so grateful. I have been asked quite often, specifically from kids my age, if I have any advice for them about writing. So I just want to say for anyone who dreams of publishing a book or even following a different passion that will make an impact, you just have to believe.”
That belief in herself has taken her quite far in her young journey, which is only beginning. What has she learned so far? “I have learned that I have a purpose in this world and that I intend on fulfilling it.”
Dani’s Diary: 7th Grade in a Nutshell is available on Amazon.com.