Shannon is On the “Write” Track
by Cate Murway

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

The novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is #13 on The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 and remains controversial to this day for its liberal profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage anxiety, but it one of Shannon Katherine Kirk’s, Bucks County Technical High School ‘07 favorite books ever. Shannon [from the name of the Shannon River, the longest river in Ireland, composed of the Gaelic elements sean "old, wise" and abhann "river"] and Kirk [a circle, a symbol of eternity without beginning or end] is the daughter of James Francis, the last class of Marist Preparatory School ’77/ Johnson School of Technology [now Johnson College], Scranton, and Susan [Kane] Kirk, St. Boniface Business School, Philadelphia ’76. Her parents own the Borough’s successful embroidery and monogram business “Stitch It Up”.
Shannon is an accomplished BCTHS Creative Arts Academy Graphic Art and Printing student and she was elected to the Secretary of the National Honor Society position, recognized for her outstanding academic achievement as 7th in her graduating class of 324 students with a 3.8 GPA. Certificates have become a significant career credential for students as an important indicator of one’s ability to get the job done. Shannon will test for her NOCTI [standardized test of the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute] certification at the completion of her BCTHS education.
Her Bristol Borough resident family includes her thirteen year old brother, Sean Kane Kirk and her grandparents, St. Ann School longtime custodian, Francis Thomas, Northeast Catholic ‘53/ N.J. Technical School and Rose [Marino] Kirk, St. Ann Commercial School ‘51/ Marinello School of Beauty, Philadelphia, a longtime owner of Rose Kirk Beauty Salon. Her Great Uncle Anthony is St. Ann School’s favorite popular school crossing patrol officer.

National Honor Society student, Shannon, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, who participated in the annual “Shop with a Cop” charity event sponsored by the Bristol Lions Club, is enthusiastically pursuing her passion of writing. Her literary acumen is showcased in The Courier Times’ award-winning “REALITY” section, written by the unique voices of student teens for teens. Each Thursday this 4-page section covers timely topics, local events and entertainment news in the teens’ perspective. The budding journalists can give advice and information on their relatable school, life and real issues. Her published statements made “List of the Week”. In the August 10th edition, Shannon shared her “soap opera” insights, naming “The top 10 greatest female teen soap opera stars ever”-  “Some are saints. Some are sinners. Some were good girls, while others liked to stir up trouble.” Naturally, she followed up with “The top 10 greatest male teen soap opera stars ever”- “There were the heroes and the bad boys, the stable and the reckless, and even some who were a mix of everything.” Watching “All My Children” and “General Hospital”, the ongoing, episodic television broadcasted works of fiction is one of Shannon’s favorite pastimes. The intricate plots run concurrently, intersect, and lead into further developments and these aspects spike Shannon’s shining creativity.

She developed her legacy which will be a NHS fixture, the “Emerson Self-Reliance Award”, an extracurricular opportunity to define idealogical freedom and then personal freedom, and then create a representative icon based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, Self-Reliance. Contained within a recommendation penned by BCTHS English teacher and NHS Chairperson, Daniel Sabatini, Conwell-Egan Catholic ‘86/Villanova ‘91/NYU MFA/Temple M.Ed., “This young woman does not conform to standards set by peers, by averages, by restricted limits. Instead, she has the luxury of defining her own boundaries because she has exercised  the right to do so.”

The December “Student of the Month”writes because it is an integral part of who she is. Her aspirations are to be a Journalist /Novelist student, possibly with a minor in Law at the four-year liberal arts DeSales University, formerly called the Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales. Shannon is a recipient of a scholarship to the Roman Catholic Center Valley University listed on the “America’s Best Colleges 2007”. The DeSales English Program offers tracks in Writing, where the student may shift his/her focus in the direction of creative, journalistic, or professional writing. Radcliffe Street resident, 800m track athlete, Patrick Kevin Johnston, Father Judge H.S. ’06, is Shannon’s brother, Sean’s St. Ann/St. Mark/ St. Thomas CYO sprint coach. Pat is an aspiring sportscaster/sports writer and a current online Hermes News “It’s a crazy world and we’re going to talk about it” Contributing Writer attending DeSales, who willingly shares, “The professors are very helpful and knowledgeable and they make recommendations for writing experiences and exposure.”

Academic subjects other than Shannon’s chosen trade courses are A.P. courses, Language & Composition and American Government, and Honors courses, Psychology and Anatomy, and a Trigonometry course. Shannon is aggressively preparing for and feels confident of her success like her favorite #1 bestselling author, Palm Beach, FL resident, James B. Patterson, who came up with the slogan "Toys R Us Kid", and who was the subject of a recent Time magazine feature called, "The Man Who Can't Miss”.

Shannon Katherine Kirk is truly on the “write” track.

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted: e-mail

Shannon Katherine Kirk
Shannon's parents