Trinity Festival Inspires Young Authors from Area Schools: Photogallery

View PhotogalleryView PhotogalleryHow do you hold the attention of more than 218 elementary school students at the annual Young Author’s Festival?

You put artist Ben Hatke in front of them.

Hatke, the creator of Zita the Spacegirl, was the guest speaker at this year’s Trinity event, which welcomed aspiring writers and illustrators from 14 area Christian schools. While sharing his three “secrets” for making great comics, Hatke drew pictures, acted, and involved the children in interactive activities.

The morning opened with a time of worship in the Ozinga Chapel, led by alumnus Vinnie Adams ’10. Afterward, the children, accompanied by Trinity students, were divided into groups and attended three sessions, including the presentation by Hatke, small group discussions, and improv performances by Trinity students.

The annual festival is sponsored by Trinity’s education department. This year, 39 Trinity students led 34 groups of visiting students.

Education majors benefit greatly from the experience of interacting with the children.

Allison Karlock ’14 of Momence, Illinois, was a group leader for six third grade students. “I gained the ability to get to know students quickly and to help them get to know their peers,” said Karlock. “I saw how important it is to give students the opportunity to put their work on display and to be recognized.”


“Ben Hatke did a great job of emphasizing that it takes a lot of time, thought, and practice to write and draw well,” said Rebecca Verhage ’13 of Moses Lake, Washington. “An author doesn’t come up with the perfect picture or the perfect drawing the first time, and it was good for students and for me to be reminded to not get discouraged when our own work doesn’t turn out stellar the first time.”

This event made me more excited to have my own classroom in the near future.
– Nate Hendrikse ’14

Special education and elementary education major Nate Hendrikse ’14 of Oostburg, Wisconsin, led a group for the first time. “Young Authors is such a great experience, not only for the visiting students, but also for the Trinity students,” he said. “This event made me more excited to have my own classroom in the near future and to know more awesome kids like the kids I met today.”

While many of the student leaders are education majors, leaders from other majors also used their gifts to contribute to the event.

This is the third year that communication arts major Brooke Wigboldy ’14 of Tinley Park, Illinois, has participated as a member of Trinity’s FTW improv team, which acts out the children’s original stories. “I look forward to this event each year, because there’s just something special about making kids laugh,” said Wigboldy.

Also part of the improv team, graphic design student Jess Timmermans ’14 of Palos Heights, Illinois, said the event is a great time for all involved. “The kids get to see college students looking silly, a few kids get to see their work come to life, and we get to experience a kind of improv that we only do once a year.”

There’s just something special about making kids laugh,
– Brooke Wigboldy ’14

For music and theology major Garret Ohashi ’16 of Minot, North Dakota, it was his first time helping with the festival improv team. “It was so much fun to see all the creativity the kids came up with,” Ohashi said. “I definitely learned about how to make kids laugh and what they love to do. Truly a rewarding experience!” 


About the artist

Ben Hatke is an artist, writer, and comics creator. He is the creator of the Zita the Spacegirl graphic novels and a contributor to the Flight Anthologies. Ben learned painting through studying the Italian Masters and by training at the Charles Cecil Studios in Florence. He lives and works in Virginia with his wife and family.

Learn more about Ben Hatke on his blog Let Fly the Cannons.

Thanks to the Young Authors Committee

Calvin Christian School

Michelle Voss

Highland Christian School

Sara Jabaay

Lansing Christian School

Linda Buteyn

Roseland Christian School

Kim Wolff

Southwest Christian -Oak Lawn

Jayne VanDenBrink

Southwest Christian -Tinley Park

Deb Lindemulder

Timothy Christian School

Sue Stein

Trinity Christian College

Bill Boerman-Cornell

Trinity Christian College

Kelly Lenarz

Trinity Christian College

Joy Meyer