News Release

Published on Thursday, November 12, 2009

Western Technical College instructor Tracy Helixon, of Onalaska, was recently honored with a second place award for a children’s short story she submitted to “knowonder!” magazine. Helixon received $200 for her story “Little Isaac’s BIG Adventure.”

Helixon is a Communications Skills instructor at Western, a position she has held for nine years, and has always had a passion for writing.

“When I was five years old, my parents caught me writing all over my little brother,” said Helixon. “When they asked me why, I told them that he thought he was a piece of paper. I guess my fiction started early!”

A relatively new publication, “knowonder!” magazine promotes children’s literacy and imagination. It is published in Utah and has a nationwide niche audience of mothers, age 25-45, who have children between the ages of 3 and 10.

Readers voted on 32 submitted short stories that appeared in the September issue, and those that received the most votes were recognized with first, second, and third place awards.

“When I sent the story to knowonder!, I was really just hoping that they would choose to publish it. Placing in their contest was hardly even a thought,” explained Helixon. “After reading the notification e-mail, I was so excited that I jumped up and down in the middle of the kitchen. My baby girl just looked at me and giggled. Then, I called my husband. He has always encouraged my writing, so I couldn't wait to share the news with him.”

Helixon has entered one other writing competition, but this was her first win. She has also had a story published in Stories for Children, an e-zine, in October. That story, titled “The New Girl,” was her first story to be illustrated.

“It was fun to see the illustrator's interpretation of the characters,” said Helixon. “This story was also special to me because one of my children has food allergies, so I'm hoping this story will help to educate children in that area.”

To read Helixon’s stories, visit www.knowonder.com and click on the September issue or visit www.storiesforchildrenmagazine.org and view the latest issue.

For more information about programs and services at Western, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at westerntc.edu.