Congratulations, Writing Students!

I am very pleased to announce that several of my writing students have received recognition for their work in the highly competitive Scholastic Artists and Writers contest, the oldest and most prestigious writing contest for youth in the United States. My students were competing with students from all the western states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. In the past, California had its own state-wide contest, but now we’ve gone regional. Needless to say, to have writing honored with this level of competition is an accomplishment. All my students who submitted (21 entries in total) had excellent work; however, on this playing field – the Super Bowl of Writing for Youth – the spots are limited. Here are those who were recognized this year:


Cameron Victor


Cameron Victor submitted five pieces and received a Silver Medal in Personal Essay for “My Colorful World,” an honorable mention in Flash Fiction for “Better Blood,” and an honorable mention for her Senior Writing Portfolio entitled, “A Smattering of Life.”

Dani Shouhed

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Danielle Shouhed submitted one piece and received a Silver medal in Personal Essay for “Paying It Forward.”

Kayla Levy

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Kayla Levy submitted one piece and received an Honorable Mention in Personal Essay for “What John Taught Me.”


Kate Eplboim


Kate Eplboim submitted five pieces and received a Silver medal for a Science Fiction short story entitled “The Memoirs Of An Unbeknownst Agoraphobic,” an honorable mention in Flash Fiction for “Why I Hate My Birthday,” an honorable mention in Humorous Short Story for “Why I Hate My Father,” and an honorable mention in Poetry for “In the Black.”

Oona Oglesby


Oona Oglesby submitted four pieces and received an Honorable Mention in Short Story for “Elle,” and an Honorable Mention in Poetry for “Pretty.”

Thanks to all my students for their hard work. I am proud of each of you. For those of you who didn’t place at all or didn’t place as high as you wanted, I certainly understand your disappointment. It’s tough to work hard and not receive the rewards you had hoped to achieve. However, this is part of the world of writing. Consider this one rung on the “toughening up” ladder. Besides, we will now look for publishing venues for your work and, hopefully, we’ll find a home for some of these wonderful pieces.

For those of you who had the opportunity to have your work recognized, savor your success. It is wonderful when a reader “gets” your work and believes in it to the point of keeping it in the running in a competition. You can walk a little taller for at least a little while before you settle back down to work on more writing, whether it’s short story, poetry, essay, memoir or a term paper for school.

As for me, I’m just happy to have the chance to work with such lovely and talented folks. You guys bring a light to my life that is palpable. Thank you for your hard work, sense of humor and willingness to bare your hearts on the page. It is an honor to serve as a guide for you on your writing journey.

Congratulations to all.  Hooray!

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