‘Young minds excelling’: Superintendent of Schools announces winners of first Nevada County Creative Writing Competition | TheUnion.com

‘Young minds excelling’: Superintendent of Schools announces winners of first Nevada County Creative Writing Competition

From left, Nevada City School District Superintendent Monica Daugherty, seventh grade winner Amelia Regan, and Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay
Eighth grader Aspen Devir receives the first place award for her grade level from Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay.

The Nevada County Superintendent of Schools’ annual writing tournament went virtual this year due to the pandemic, resulting in the first Nevada County Creative Writing Competition.

During most years’ tournament, local middle school students are invited to gather at the Miner’s Foundry and compete in informative writing, persuasive writing, and creative writing.

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

The competition process began with 11 local schools choosing a seventh and eighth grader to represent their school, each submitting a story.

Last week, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools announced this year’s winners.

For the seventh grade level, first place went to Amelia Regan from Seven Hills, second place to Gianna Roederer from Nevada City School of the Arts, and third place to Katie Enos from Grass Valley Charter School.

First place in the eighth grade level went to Aspen Devir from Nevada City School of the Arts, while second and third went to Serena Buehler from Union Hill and Mariposa Freeling from Magnolia, respectively.

“Reading these papers put me in the same frame of mind as all those years of teaching, when I would encounter students who were writing just terrific stuff despite the social turmoil around them,” said Timothy May, a member of the county Board of Education and one of six volunteer judges for the competition.

May, who formerly taught writing at the college level, said, “I think that’s one of the great satisfactions of being a writing teacher, to see young minds excelling in spite of it all.”

“As I applied the rubric, there wasn’t a bad paper in the whole lot,” said May of the 22 stories submitted by local students.

According to May, some of the students’ writing was at a level he encountered in community college, in terms of mechanics, and the winners submitted writing that was at a high school level overall.

He described the students’ performance overall as “very encouraging,” and a sign “that some of our students are persevering so well despite the pandemic.”

“I have every confidence that they’re going to be able to, like other generations who have faced historical challenges, rise to the occasion,” said May.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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