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VT High School Writing Contest Winners Announced

Winners Announced in Vermont High School Writing Contest Co-Sponsored by Northern Vermont University and the League of Vermont Writers

Northern Vermont University and the League of Vermont Writers are pleased to announce the winners and runners-up in their first annual Vermont High School Writing Contest. The winners in each category — fiction, non-fiction, and poetry — were chosen from more than 120 entries from high school students in public and private schools as well as from home schoolers.

In the fiction category, Elias N. Leventhal (Champlain Valley Union High School) placed first with his entry “Quills.” Jonah Sayler (South Burlington High School) was selected as the runner-up with his submission “Karelia.”

In the nonfiction category, two Craftsbury Academy students garnered honors. Alexander G. Califano placed first with his essay “Reflections of a Cross Country Dog,” while Matthew H. Califano, Alexander’s twin brother, was runner-up with “Pay or Dispute.”

In the poetry category, Middlebury Union High School student Narges Anzall won first prize with the poem “Iran/Biography of a Town.” Runner-up was Riley R. Medina (Green Mountain High School) with the poem “Order of Things.”

Nine distinguished Vermont-based writers — three for each category — served as the writing contest judges. The poetry judges were Geof Hewitt, Kathleen McKinley Harris, and Skye Jackson; nonfiction judges were Reeve Lindbergh, Chandler Gilman, and Lisa Halvorsen; and fiction judges were Jensen Beach, Bill Schubart, and Elizabeth Inness-Brown.

“We are gratified by both the quality of the submissions and the thoughtfulness with which the judges approached this contest,” said NVU Professor of Writing and Literature Tyrone Shaw, one of the contest organizers. “The quality, honesty, and passion displayed in many of the entries were inspiring.”

Winners in each category will receive a $500 cash prize; runners-up will receive a $100 cash prize. Both winners and runners-up will also have the opportunity to publish their work in NVU’s Green Mountains Review and the League of Vermont Writers’ League Lines and receive a one-year membership in the League of Vermont Writers. The League will also provide an opportunity for the winners and runners-up to read their winning entries to other Vermont writers.

In addition, the winners and runners-up in each category will receive a Northern Vermont University scholarship of $1,000 or $500, respectively, renewable for four years.

“I am thrilled that so many students took part in the first annual Vermont High School Writing Contest and applaud all of the time and effort they each put into their entries,” said NVU Interim President John W. Mills. “We’re so pleased to play a role in encouraging written expression through this contest and are also pleased to help support their future education through the NVU scholarships each winner and runner-up will receive.”

Northern Vermont University will host a celebration for the winners and runners-up, their teachers, and their families later in the spring on the Johnson campus.

“Certainly, there’s a lot to celebrate,” said League of Vermont Writers President Amy Braun. “This natural collaboration between Northern Vermont University and the League has provided a glimpse of some of the wonderful talent of aspiring young writers around the state.”