July 16, 2018
School & Youth
95° Scattered Clouds
  • Parker Crandall, Jazmine Jensen and Ella Tomko recently took first-place honors in the Anne Arundel County Reading Council’s Young Authors Contest. Maddie Roth (far right) was a finalist in a contest held by Grub Street, Towson University's literary and arts magazine.
    Photo by Zach Sparks
    Parker Crandall, Jazmine Jensen and Ella Tomko recently took first-place honors in the Anne Arundel County Reading Council’s Young Authors Contest. Maddie Roth (far right) was a finalist in a contest held by Grub Street, Towson University's literary and arts magazine.
  • Folger McKinsey second-grader Lily Feinman penned “Fantastic Owls,” a first-place short story in the Anne Arundel County Reading Council’s Young Authors Contest.
    Photo Provided
    Folger McKinsey second-grader Lily Feinman penned “Fantastic Owls,” a first-place short story in the Anne Arundel County Reading Council’s Young Authors Contest.

Young Authors Excel In Maryland Writing Contests

Zach Sparks
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March 6, 2018

From their classrooms and their homes, students are using the written word to transport readers across the world, and for that effort, several young scribes have been recognized.

Winners of the Anne Arundel County Reading Council’s Young Authors Contest included students from Broadneck High; Severn River and Magothy River middle schools; and Folger, Oak Hill and Broadneck elementary schools. Each grade level had a first- and second-place winner for short story and for poetry.

At Broadneck High, three students notched honors in the countywide contest. With “Flames of Fall,” Jazmine Jensen took first place for poetry in the 11th-grade division.

The first of three stanzas contained the words, “The wind is traveling with an assortment of flames, each breeze twirling as with no shame, we always looked at this with great delight, but never dwelled that summer would ignite.”

“It was fall at that time, and it always reminds me of the fire red, oranges and yellow,” Jensen said of her inspiration. Her approach to structure was simple. “I just like rhyming,” she said.

Parker Crandall won first place for short story among high school juniors. He wrote four drafts of his story about strife between two brothers.

“In the beginning, Joel is this outcast who used to be a soldier and he is framed for murder after kidnapping a nobleman,” Crandall said. “Leif confronts him.”

Crandall spent about 20 hours on his story, crafting detailed descriptions like “battered flintlock pistol” and “The people were spitting images of this so-called clockwork city, home of machinists and technology alike.” Dialogue was his biggest challenge. “I used a lot of formal dialogue to make it fantastical and over the top,” he said.

Like Crandall, freshman Ella Tomko was focused on dialogue for her short story, “William,” which earned first place for her grade level.

“A lot of fables don’t feature dialogue as a way to [communicate],” she said. Her inspiration for the piece came from selecting an object at random. “I picked a boat and it symbolizes how William communicates with people.”

The winners’ pieces were sent to the State of Maryland International Reading Council’s contest, for which both Crandall and Tomko received second-place honors.

Although she did not compete in that contest, Broadneck High student Maddie Roth “was the driving force” behind starting the school’s young authors club, formed one year ago to unite writers once a week, according to English teacher Muriel Giroux.

Roth’s story “Beginning of the End” was a finalist in a recent contest held by Grub Street, Towson University's student-produced literary and arts magazine.

“It goes over the stages of childhood using different adjectives and memories,” she said of her story. “Some of those memories were of my friends and brother playing in the backyard in the summers, and some things were stereotypical childhood memories.”

Roth has two unpublished novels that she is editing for potential publication. Like S.E. Hinton, who wrote “The Outsiders” while she was in high school, Roth hopes to get an early start as an author.

Younger wordsmiths also enjoyed success at other levels of the countywide authors contest.

Clementine McElmore, an eighth-grader at Magothy River Middle, took second place for poetry thanks to her piece “Herba Terrae.” Asked about her inspiration for the poem, she said, “All of this stuff in the world, like controversial topics our leaders are talking through, like immigration.”

The contest presented her with a special opportunity. “I think it offered me the chance to express myself and not hide my voice,” Clementine said.

A “Harry Potter” fan, Folger McKinsey second-grader Lily Feinman penned a short story that came in first place. Lily said her tale is about “a girl who goes owl-watching and she sees an owl and runs after it and gets lost.” It has a happy ending. “She follows the owl back home and she gets a pet owl,” Lily added. The proud owner of a hermit crab, Lily likes to research animal facts.

Also at Folger, fourth-grader Caroline Kasper was awarded first place for short story and Josie Kamas, a third-grader, received second place for her story “Stop Looking Into La La Land.” A fan of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, Josie put some imagination into her story.

“It’s mostly about a girl who daydreams … and went to the witches house to get a potion,” she said.

Speaking about the imagination of her Broadneck students, Giroux made a comment that is applicable to all of the winners.

“I think we underestimate the talent and ingenuity of young people,” Giroux said. “They come in and we give them a writing prompt, and they take charge. In a short time, they write something great and they have the courage to share it. I don't think we always see the depth these young people are capable of exhibiting, but their writing gives us a glimpse.”

 

Local Young Authors Winners

Broadneck High

Parker Crandall, Grade 11
First-Place Short Story

Jazmine Jensen, Grade 11
First-Place Poem

Ella Tomko, Grade 9
First-Place Short Story

Magothy River Middle

Clementine McElmore, Grade 8
Second-Place Poem

Maggie Bourne, Grade 7
First-Place Short Story

Severn River Middle

Zoe Barbour, Grade 8
First-Place Poem

Cecily Foster, Grade 6
Second-Place Short Story

Folger McKinsey Elementary

Caroline Kasper, Grade 4
First-Place Short Story

Josie Kamas, Grade 3
Second-Place Short Story

Lily Feinman, Grade 2
First-Place Short Story

Broadneck Elementary

Emelia Manchester, Grade 3
Second-Place Poem

Caden Codd, Grade 2
Second-Place Poem

Oak Hill Elementary

Emma Fritz, Grade 5
Second-Place Short Story


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