21 January 2014


MENTOR: Naomi Hughes
ALTERNATE: Amy Moellering
WORD COUNT: 58,000

PITCH: On Graduation Day, twelve year-old Emily Bray finds a mysterious cadet manual at the West Point Military Academy. In its pages, a cryptic map leads her to the world of steam tunnels and a notorious cadet society. But when her investigations go awry, her father is unjustly accused of theft. To vindicate him, she must race an evil historian to a secret Benedict Arnold left behind.

A kid, with any sense, went to West Point’s graduation for the hats. Not for the horrendous New York humidity that weighed like a dozen sandbags. Not for the boring speeches by Defense Secretaries or Vice Presidents. Not for the pomp and circumstance.

For the hats.

At least a thousand of them—stiff white discs with black brims and the West Point crest.  For now, those hats were firmly fixed on cadet heads, and Emily Bray had just about had enough.

She tugged on her shorts, releasing them from the sweat on her legs, and looked around. Just as she suspected, she was one of the few seventh graders---twelve was the age limit---and she felt embarrassed she was participating.

 “Why does the graduation part have to take so long?” said Megan, her long black curly hair frizzing in the humidity.  Emily’s eight-year old sister was the main reason Emily was there; her parents felt Megan was too young to come alone.

“Duh! Because it is graduation!” said a rotund boy a row ahead of them. He spun around, lost his balance and stepped on Megan’s toes.

“Ouch. Watch it!” she yelled, pushing him off her.

 “Settle down,” said the military policeman standing guard at the ramp separating the kids from the football field. “Not much longer now. Hold it together.”

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