The four finalists have been announced for The Great American Story contest in Park Rapids, MN, on September 28. This is the fourth year of the contest, which awards a grand prize of $1000 based on audience voting. For details, see http://www.thegreatamericanstory.org/
Maeve Bolton is a sophomore at Park Rapids Area High School. She participates in speech, competing in creative Expression, a category where students write their own original pieces to perform. This will be her fifth year of speech. Some of her awards include being named the Heartland Conference Champion in 2017 and 2018. She loves performing with the Park Rapids Drama Department, Prairie Fire Children's Theatre and Long Lake Theater, and has been involved in many productions. Her other pastimes include playing tennis, oboe and piano, and she enjoys spending time with family and friends.
With a rich variety of experiences and storytelling skills, Noel LaBine tells stories which are touching, engaging, inspiring and up lifting. He has entertained audiences in communities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin since 2002. Using adventures created because of his personal foibles, Noel expresses his personal development through “Lessons Learned” that are often humorous and heart-warming. He hopes his stories invite people to realize their own personal development learned through personal failures. Noel has self-published three books including his latest: Lessons Learned Through Chaos and Mayhem from Northwest Minnesota, a collection of over 40 short stories he has created and remembered, which involve characters from his hometown of Argyle.
Nicolle LaFleur is a native Minnesotan who has recently returned to live on her family’s homestead in the Smoky Hills State Forest. She is the new director of the Nemeth Art Center where she is focused on community and youth engagement. She has lived and worked in China over the past 30 years and has raised her two daughters with her husband in Beijing and Washington State before moving back to northern Minnesota. She is currently writing a memoir of her experiences in China with her bi-cultural extended family.
Donna Marie Todd is a professional storyteller, TEDx speaker, recording artist, singer, writer, teaching artist and retreat leader. The combination of storytelling and singing has earned her the description of “The Singer of Stories.” Currently she performs at leading storytelling festivals, corporate events, spiritual retreats, churches, schools and conferences. A native of West Virginia, she trained in classical vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and now writes and performs a combination of original story woven with artful song. She is also well-known in the spiritual community as a biblical storyteller, and has served as editor of The Biblical Storyteller magazine for almost 10 years. Visit her website to learn more: www.donnamarietodd.com.