Writer Tournament winner shine despite challenges | TheUnion.com

Writer Tournament winner shine despite challenges


Eighth grader Aspen Devir receives the first place award for her grade level from Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay.
Photo by Faith Yamamoto

Every year Nevada County Superintendent of Schools hosts a Writing Tournament where students from local middle schools gather at the Miners Foundry for a day of writing. The tournament lasts most of the day as students compete in three categories: Informative Writing, Creative Writing, and Persuasive Writing.

From left, Nevada City School District superintendent Monica Daugherty, Seven Hills seventh grader Amelia Regan, and Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay.
Provided photo

A gathering of that sort was not possible this year, with COVID-19 restrictions, so NCSOS pivoted and created a new competition for young writers.

“We knew we had to scale back the writing categories in order to make the competition manageable in a virtual setting. It was an obvious choice — the students have always loved the creative writing category above all others,” said tournament coordinator Shannon Rashby.

The 2021 Nevada County Creative Writing Competition was born. Twenty seventh and eighth grade students from eleven local schools were chosen as the best of their grade to represent their school in the county-wide competition finals. They were asked to respond of one of the following prompts:

  • Write about a character who makes a dramatic life change to pursue a goal they’ve always secretly wanted.
  • A package is delivered to your house with your name on it.  Inside there is a magical book. Everything you write in it comes true!
  • Tell a story from the perspective of a pet.

The stories were judged by a panel of six volunteer judges, made up of former teachers, including Timothy May, member of the Nevada County Board of Education.

“What a delight to help judge the work of our county’s 7th and 8th grade contest finalists,” said May. “As a 40–year veteran of teaching English to high-risk students, I am confident, reading these stories, that a high percentage of our county students are demonstrating intellectual resilience in spite of the disruptions to their academic lives caused by the pandemic. Like other generations of young people, many of our contemporary Nevada County students shall prevail over the historical challenges of their time and place.”

The top winners of the 2021 7/8th Grade Creative Writing Competition are:

7th Grade

1st Place: Amelia Regan, Seven Hills

2nd Place: Gianna Roederer, Nevada City School of the Arts

3rd Place – Katie Enos, Grass Valley Charter

8th Grade

1st Place: Aspen Devir, Nevada City School of the Arts

2nd Place: Serena Buehler, Union Hill

3rd Place: Mariposa Freeling, Magnolia

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