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John and Dianne Koplas
Memorial Lecture Series

Monday, May 18, 2015
6:30 PM in the Wheeler Room on Floor 2
Please use the Chestnut Street entrance.

Guest Lecturer: Cynthia Storrs-Cotten
"Caledonia: Coming Home"

Cynthia Cotten photograph

Cynthia Storrs-Cotten graduated from Lockport Senior High School in 1969. She attended Wells College (Aurora, NY) and received an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). She and her husband Steve have been married for almost forty years. During that time, they have lived in a number of places around the country, including Ponca City, OK; Pittsburgh, PA; and--most recently--Dumfries, VA. However, home has always been New York State, and they moved back to Lockport in April of 2014. They have two grown children: Amanda (Paveglio), of State College, PA, and Christopher, of Washington, DC.

Cynthia has been an author of fiction and poetry for children for almost thirty years. In that time, she has published nine books and has had poems included in numerous collections. In addition to her work as a writer, she has also served as a presenter and manuscript critiquer at conferences. She has taught writing classes for children and adults and has coached several beginning writers. She has also served twice as judge in the Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators Golden Kite competition. She belongs to the Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators, the Author's Guild, and the Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC.

Cynthia is a member of the Rotary Club of Lockport, where she serves on the Youth Exchange Committee. She is also a member of the Kenan Arts Council and the Board of Directors of the Lockside Arts Center. One of her great joys is reading aloud to children, and she is in her 24th year of going into a fifth grade classroom once a week to read to the students. "I began doing this before I was published, she says, "and I always figured that, even if I never was published, I'd be doing something to bring good stories to kids."

When she's not writing, Cynthia enjoys photography, art quilting, reading, and movies--all in the little bit of heaven she and her husband call home on the banks of the Erie Canal.

~ * ~

The family and friends of John and Dianne Koplas established this Memorial Lecture Series through the Lockport Public Library to honor their devotion to teaching and to celebrate their lifelong passion for learning.

The Koplas family would like to express their appreciation for all the contributions which established this lecture series. For continued support of this memorial, please contact the Lockport Public Library.

Thank you for your support of the Library and its programs.

John and Dianne Koplas photograph

Life-long educators John Koplas and Dianne Cooper met at Lockport High School in 1959. Along with raising their family, John teaching almost 30 years at the high school, and Dianne returning for nearly a decade at North Park, the couple spent the remainder of their lives sharing their passion for knowledge with their students, children, grandchildren, and everyone they encountered within the Lockport community and beyond. They also had an ever-present appreciation for the world around them, were students of the global community, and traveled extensively--including throughout the USA, Europe, and Russia--to heighten that appreciation. Whether imparting structured lessons in a formal classroom, leading discussion groups at the Lockport Public Library or the Kenan Center, ushering school groups through the History Center, acting as a docent for the Tiffany Windows at the First Presbyterian Church, or coordinating the Step Back in Time Historical Players, John and Dianne could always be recognized as educators first and foremost. John and Dianne's standards of excellence and love of teaching and learning leave a valuable legacy not only for their students, but also their family, friends, and the entire Lockport community.

Past lectures:

May 2014: Dr. Helen Cappuccino, "Service as a Life's Mission."

May 2013: Christopher Haber, Lockport native, "Stories and Choices: A Producer's Life in Africa."

May 2012: Joanna Pasceri, Lockport native and co-anchor of Channel 7's Eyewitness News, "My Journey from Lockport High School to the Anchor Desk."

May 2011: Rae Tyson, author of "Kidsafe," a book published by Random House that was designed to help parents understand the environmental risks affecting children. Tyson is a 1962 graduate of Lockport Senior High School and has worked at Wilson Central School, Artpark, Niagara Gazette, USA Today, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

October 2009: Joyce Carol Oates, one of our country's most prolific and versatile contemporary writers. With a writing career that spans 25 years, she is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, literary criticism, and essays.
Selected works by Joyce Carol Oates



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Lockport Public Library, 23 East Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094 - (716) 433-5935
Doors open: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM; Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Saturday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Holiday Closings & Summer Hours * Last updated 05/13/2015