It has been a good, long run for this year's group of 10 teenage columnists.

We restarted the program last year, in February, shortly before the arrival of the coronavirus in Minnesota, and the start of the pandemic that changed virtually everything.

Meeting with the group and introducing them to the program was one of the last things we did in the office before we were forced to close it.

Now this group of 10 nears the finish line. Radhika Damle, Luke Drake, Makayla Kennedy, Daniel Ma, Adam McPhail, Anya Miller, Grace Pignolo, Zach Spindler-Krage, Grace Sprecher and Erin Stoeckig have made up one of the best and brightest groups I have had in nine years of overseeing this program. Readers have enjoyed their work, too. I frequently hear from you in response to their writing.

In a normal year, the program concludes at the end of summer. This year -- actually 15 months and counting -- will be a bit different. All of the columnists will get one more turn before the last two columns from them run on June 8.

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Then we'll have a hiatus from teen writers before starting with a new group of 10 in September. If you're an interested high school student, or you know one who is, the time to apply for the program starts now. It's pretty simple: Just send me a cover letter and two writing samples that show me how well you communicate and what your interests are. Your samples might include a test column, other personal writing or even a class paper. No poetry, please. You can email those to me at jpieters@postbulletin.com. The deadline will be July 31.

I'm sure readers will miss the teens over the summer months, but I have a plan to keep that part of the newspaper lively. It's something new we'll try, a program I'm calling Community Columnists. Essentially, what I have in mind is the same kind of program that I offer the teens, but this is for adults, ages 18 and up. You can apply for a spot in a 10-writer rotation that will begin about a month from now.

Send me an email expressing your interest and ability, and I'll select a mix of people that I hope will reflect a diversity of interests, backgrounds and experiences of people in our area. I'd like to be making choices by this time next week, so don't delay.

Both opportunities -- teen columnists and community columnists -- are for people anywhere in the Post Bulletin's coverage area in southeastern Minnesota, from Austin to Zumbrota, and all the city names in between.

Have questions? Send me an email or give me a call.

Jeff Pieters is editor of the Post Bulletin. He can be reached by phone, 507-285-7748, or email, jpieters@postbulletin.com.