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GEMS Academy students in spotlight at SOKY Book Fest

GEMS Academy students in spotlight at SOKY Book Fest

Two Warren County Public Schools students had their published works showcased at the SOKY Book Fest Children’s Day on Friday (April 19).

Hayden Isenberg and Kamrin Green, both of Bowling Green, were selected as the winners of the “GEMS Academy Young Science Writers” competition.

This competition was a collaborative effort between the SOKY Book Fest and the GEMS (Gifted Education in Math and Science) Academy. The GEMS Academy is one component of Project GEMS, a five-year grant focusing on problem-based learning in math and science that partners The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU with the Warren County Public Schools. Students in grades 3 through 6 from Lost River Elementary School and Cumberland Trace Elementary School attend the GEMS Academy one day a week where they engage in hands-on, minds-on science and mathematics learning.

The goals of the writing competition were for GEMS students to research and explore a variety of STEM careers and to also experience the process of crafting an online book for publication. Most of the 121 books were written with a target audience of elementary school-aged readers in mind. Each book was published through, an online book self-publishing website, printed in full-color with a saddle-stitched binding in soft cover format, and completed with a unique ISBN number.

An independent panel of judges assessed the entries relating to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) career of interest. The judges then selected one winner for the third and fourth grade category and one winner for the fifth and sixth grade category.

The SOKY Book Fest Children’s Day was held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center. Copies of their books will be available for sale and can be signed by the authors during the Book Fest hours. (For more about the SOKY Book Fest, including appearances by Henry WinklerMary McDonough and children’s author Jarrett Krosoczka, visit

About the writers: Hayden Isenberg is a 9-year-old 4th-grade student at Cumberland Trace Elementary School who attends GEMS Academy every Tuesday.  “Herpetologists” is his first published book. Hayden is a very creative student with a vivid imagination, and the Book Fest judging panel felt that his book would be very appealing to a young reader. Some of Hayden’s hobbies include catching reptiles and frogs.

Kamrin Green is a 10-year-old 5th-grade student at Cumberland Trace Elementary School who attends GEMS Academy every Wednesday. Kamrin is an exceptionally focused and conscientious student who sets high standards for her work. “What is a Genetic Counselor?” is her first published book. Kamrin did a great deal of research and included a wealth of information about genetic counseling in her book, which impressed the judging panel. They were also impressed by her putting herself into the role of a professional for the photographic illustrations.  She loves to read, draw and write.

“GEMS Academy Young Science Writers” competition results

3-4th Grade Category


Winning Book: “Herpetologists” by Hayden Isenberg (Cumberland Trace Elementary)

Honorable Mention: “If You Want to be an Astronomer…” by Josh Rivas  (Lost River Elementary – 4th); “Aerospace Engineering” by Shruti Gautam (Cumberland Trace – 4th); “Awesome Aerospace Engineers” by Maya Ganesh & Bray Jacobs (Cumberland Trace – 3rd)

5-6th Grade Category

genetic counselor

Winning Book:  “What is a Genetic Counselor?” by Kamrin Green (Cumberland Trace – 5th)

Honorable Mention: “Cosmetic Chemist” by Macy Kitchens (Lost River Elementary – 6th); “Johnny, the Software Engineer” by Ethan Stephens (Lost River Elementary – 6th); “So, You Want to be a Veterinarian” by Ella Duryea (Cumberland Trace Elementary – 5th)

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