For high school students, spring means prom, finals, and looking forward to summer. It’s hard to motivate them to finish homework, let alone write a short story. But, as we in BWG know, writers will write, no matter what their age. Offer them cash prizes, a free critique, and a chance to add to their writing resume and they are in!
Of course, I’m referring to the BWG Young Writer’s Contest. Open to high school students in Cameron, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Beauregard, and Allan Parishes, the yearly contest gives students a chance to submit and receive feedback on their work. Fiction and non-fiction pieces not longer than 2,000 words were accepted with up to two entries per student. First place prize was $25.00 and admission to the Bridge to Publication Conference in November. Second Place was $15.00, and Third was $10.
This year we had 13 entries. Sam Houston, Barbe, DeRidder, East Beauregard, and Johnson Bayou were represented. Two entries were from an area Homeschooler. Our judges included myself, Connie McDonald, a retired high school creative writing teacher and Rachel Rinehart, an MFA student at McNeese. Both ladies teach in the Governor’s Program at McNeese. They were a great help in the contest.
Competition was close, with some places separated only by a few points. These kids really showed their talent. As there was no theme, the judges had a variety of topics to read, from the Boxer Revolution to migration in the future to a New Earth. Zombies made more than one appearance. After reading them, I was encouraged to fire up the laptop and get busy writing.
First and third place went to Ashley Petry from Sam Houston High School. Her stories gave us a glimpse into the supernatural world. Second place went to Homeschool student Hannah Pettefer who shared a delightful story of what can happen when siblings are left to their own devices and imagination.
New and Exciting This Year!
This year the group decided on something new for the contest. A donation of $100 worth of books was given to the first place winner’s school library. The donation went to Sam Houston High School. This was especially exciting for the librarians as they recently moved into their new library. BWG was able to supply books on writing and grammar requested by Connie Degenhardt, one of the librarians.
Winners were notified by August 10th. An announcement regarding this will be made at the conference in November, but we were so excited that we couldn’t wait to share the news. On Tuesday, Aug. 27th, I, along with Chris Baldauf and Patricia Fox, met with Ashley, Connie, and Vickie Barto, SHHS librarian, to present them with the books. Marilyn Monroe from Southwest Daily News was present to cover the event. Who knew we could attract such a star? A fun time was had by all.
So many people helped make this year’s contest a success. Thank you to our parents, librarians, teachers, principals, and businesses that advertised the contest and encouraged our kids to write. A BIG thanks to the students who participated. Without them, there wouldn’t be a contest.
Keep writing, and see you next year!