Local Author Meets with Onekama Students


Manistee County’s best resources have always been its residents. Specialists in nearly every field populate our region, and their willingness to share their knowledge with a new generation can have a profound impact on area youth.


On Wednesday, January 3, local author John Wemlinger shared his time and talents with two aspiring authors from Onekama Middle School.


Following a class short story writing competition, seventh grade students Madison Gutowski and Ryan Petrosky earned the opportunity to meet with a published author to receive feedback on their stories. Each student met with Wemlinger in the Onekama School Media Center in an hour-long, one-on-one writing conference.


John Wemlinger is the author of multiple novels, including Winter’s Bloom and Operation Light Switch. After 27 years of service in the United States Army, Wemlinger became an administrator serving at-risk youth at several Michigan alternative high schools. Wemlinger and his wife Diane live in Onekama.


Onekama Middle School English teacher Megan McCarthy is grateful that Wemlinger is willing to share his gifts with her students.


“I jumped at his offer to meet with my student writers,” said McCarthy. “Knowing that their writing could be selected for this special opportunity really elevated the assignment in my students’ eyes.”


“Middle school students want to be heard; they want their voices shared,” continued McCarthy. “John gave that opportunity to my students, and he helped two young writers move their skills forward. For that, I am incredibly appreciative.”


Gutowski and Petrosky were both encouraged and motivated by their conferences with Wemlinger. Commented Gutowski: “Mr. Wemlinger is really inspirational and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to writing. He really helped me with my short story, and he gave me some confidence that will help me as a writer throughout my life.”

Onekama students Ryan Petrosky and Madison Gutowski met with author John Wemlinger in the school’s media center to receive feedback on their original short stories.