A "Mighty" Accomplishment | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    WASHINGTON, NC     Many people will say that attending Beaufort County Community College has changed their lives, but in Helen Boland's case, the college has given her a place to form both a family and a business. Helen and her husband Sam are proud of a new book the two have published.

    The eager homeschooler first came to BCCC to get her high school equivalency, or GED. She wanted to finish high school early and get a head start on her college studies.

    She enrolled in the Associate of Arts curriculum, where she met Sam Boland. The two started dating and began collaborating on a book. They spent time figuring out each other's artistic styles, and combined them. The result of this collaboration is "Mighty Michael," a children's book, and "Sector Strange," a graphic novel.

    "Mighty Michael" was written by Sandra Lawson, Sam's aunt. The English teacher based the book on the Fancy Nancy Series. In the story, Michael dreams of being a superhero. On his quest to find an appropriate hero name, he must use mighty alternatives to everyday words. The book helps children expand their vocabulary at a young age.

    "Each picture takes about an hour to draw and another hour to color," said Helen. For Mighty Michael, Sam illustrated characters based on himself and members of his family. He used images of places he had grown up as a reference for settings in the book. Helen colored the illustrations.

    Sam also wrote "Sector Strange," a story full of gun-toting reptiles set in a different dimension. The original story and illustrations are more appropriate for children ten and older.

    During their work on the illustration of "Mighty Michael," Helen and Sam got married.

    They self-published the books through lulu.com. The two recently presented their book to an early childhood education class at BCCC led by Caroline Hardee. They discussed the ideas behind the book, and the process of illustrating.

    Sam pointed to a picture of a house. "I found a picture through Google Street View of the house my family had lived in Ohio and used it for the outside scene." Other images came from interiors from family members' houses.

    Often students at the community college will enroll with their sights set on one program, but an exciting class or a connection made on campus will take them in a different direction. While Helen has taken every class that art instructor Heea Crownfield teaches, taking business or childhood education classes can also help.

    BCCC offers a place for students to network and build relationships. It helps students to build their skills and nurture their passions. It can be the trigger that combines strangers' mighty ideas and dreams into something bigger. A mighty word for such a trigger is catalyst.

    Copies of "Mighty Michael" can be purchased through www.lulu.com/spotlight/Bolandartstudio.
  • Contact: Attila Nemecz
  •     Attila.Nemecz@beaufortccc.edu

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