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Scottdale teen submits winning poem

| Monday, April 30, 2012, 11:28 p.m.

Glenn and Carole Johnson recently announced the winner of the The Girl on the Carousel Poetry Contest held by the Scottdale Public Library in memory of their daughter Beth Ann Johnson.

A photo of Beth Ann Johnson on a carousel currently hangs in the children's room at the library. Scottdale Public Library Director Patti Miller said children are always asking who "the girl on the carousel" is.

"I gently explain who Beth Ann was and show them her first library card, which is displayed in the room," Miller said. "I tell them that Beth Ann loved libraries and music and tell them that Beth Ann's family has helped to buy the books that appear each year on the shelves of the children's room."

Beth Ann Johnson lost her life in the terrorist attack of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Miller added it has now been nearly 24 years since Beth Ann has gone, but her legacy lives on.

As part of the Love Your Library campaign, the library accepted entries for the poetry contest. The Johnsons announced the winner as 14-year-old Laura Kupets of Scottdale with her poem "A Continued Life."

Kupets will have the honor of her poem hung in the children's room along with the photo of Beth Ann.

The young lady said she was very surprised that her poem won because it was not a perfect rhyme scheme but it was what she wanted to write.

"It's such an honor to have it hung in the library," said Kupets.

She added she came up with the idea of her poem when she was thinking about different things to write about.

"An image appeared in my head of a lady appearing in a castle window and it just went from there," Kupets said. "I wanted it to represent the power of her life and the power of books."

The Johnsons have donated $4,500 towards the Love Your Library campaign. The library raised about $12,000 through the campaign before the donation.

"From way back when in the old building, the Johnsons helped to refinance the addition onto the old building for the children's room and they helped to build the children's room in this new library," Miller said.

"Now during the state-aide budget crisis, fundraising has become a way of life for many libraries," she added.

Carole Johnson said their continued support of the library is, in a way, "an extension of Beth and her love for children. It's a way for us to carry on her legacy as far as working with children."

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