About 100 Lawrence junior high students gathered Friday for a conference to learn crafts like songwriting, graphic design and nonfiction writing.
"They are so eager to do it right. They're like little puppies," presenter Sandra Jacob said. "I loved talking to junior high students."
About 25 students from each junior high school attended five sessions at the conference, which is offered every other year.
The sessions were taught by about 25 presenters, who ranged from a lawyer who writes legal-thriller novels to a Washburn University theater professor to local hosts of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
West Junior High seventh-grader Nate Rosenbloom said he wanted to direct movies someday, preferably science-fiction or mystery films.
The 12-year-old attended workshops on screenwriting, mystery writing, newspaper journalism, science-fiction and broadcast journalism.
He said he was surprised that so many of the presenters told him the same thing: "If you want to write, you just keep writing and writing."
"That's a very big thing then, I guess," Nate said.
Sandra Jacob taught her students how to write resumes and essays for college.
She owns Overland Park-based firm College Consultants, a company that helps students get into and pay for college.
Jacob told the junior high students to get involved with volunteer projects -- like collecting videos for a children's hospital -- to make their resumes stand out.
The conference at Indian Hills Church of God was sponsored by the gifted programs at the four junior highs. Students did not have to be in the gifted program to attend.