Student Writing Showcased in Annual Young Authors Contest


Kerala Bannister

Student writers share their process and what inspires them to write.

Kerala Bannister, Editor

This year’s Young Authors Contest has released its winners at the school level after weeks of anticipation. Students in every grade submitted poetry and short stories for their chance to be named winners and move on to the county level of the contest.


Genevieve Wilson, a senior at Oakdale, shared her thoughts on what her writing process was like for the 12th grade poetry competition: “My writing process looks a lot like a whole bunch of procrastinating before one really good session where I sit down and just spill out a whole big chunk of writing.” Wilson placed first in her grade with her poem “Ode to Minor Chord.”


Adeline Vogt, the other first place senior, who won for her short story “Two Sides of the Same Coin”, has a different process: “My writing process starts with coming up with ideas. When I find one I like, I just start writing. I don’t worry about word limits or anything like that, I just get my idea down on paper.”


Writing comes with challenges, however, and these student authors are not immune to them. Avery Mission, the 9th grade poetry winner, shared her personal struggles with writing: “I think the most challenging part for me is trying to convey what the theme of the poem is without me being the only one who understands it.”


Students also spoke about where they draw inspiration from. “I am most inspired when I have a story that embodies something I stand for or highly respect,” said Najla Hall, the 11th grade poetry winner.


Mission won for her poem “You, in All the Hurtful Colors” and Hall’s poem “Colored” also took first.


Emmanuel Johnson, the 9th grade short story winner, expressed how he was driven to start writing in the first place: “I love to read and when I did I wondered what would happen in different situations. Writing it myself was a chance to make my ideas come to life!” His first place short story, “Null and Void” is proof that this process really works.


Chloe Wood, the sophomore short story winner, drew inspiration from her characters: “I have so many characters and story ideas, but not all of them translate well to the same medium.”


She continues to confess, “when I have a solid concept for a story I put lots of effort into making it great.”


Best of luck to these students as their literary works move forward to the county level. A celebration of these first place winners, along with those who came second, will be held during SET on January 21st in the Library. Students will share excerpts of their winning works, and snacks will be provided. 


The winners are as follows: 9th grade Avery Mission (first place poem), 9th grade Sarah Berger (second place poem), 9th grade Emmanuel Johnson (first place short story), 9th grade Eslii Record (second place short story), 10th grade Ashley Stangl (first place poem), 10th grade McKenzie Mollica (second place poem), 10th grade Chloe Wood (first place short story), 10th grade Aryaman Kantawala (second place short story), 11th grade Najla Hall (first place poem), 11th grade Polina Burkhard (second place poem), 11th grade Joseph Folb (first place short story), 11th grade Hisham Virk (second place short story), 12th grade Genevieve Wilson (first place poem), 12th grade Kerala Bannister (second place poem), 12th grade Adeline Vogt (first place short story), 12th grade Genevieve Wilson (second place short story).