A story by Annie Bortz, a senior at Mead High School, has been judged the best of 25 entries to win The Spokesman-Review’s 2015 Outdoor Writing Contest for high school students.
In Voyage to Discovery Bortz paddles readers through a transformation from a shaky start. “My only past experience with boating was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, unfortunately making me the most knowledgeable member of our crew,” she writes.
Runners-up in the 30th annual contest include:
• Flaming Out, by Mead junior, Will Bennatt, gives urgent meaning to the term “hot-footing” through the wilderness with a backpack.
• The Chase, by Central Valley High School senior Connor Reding, puts readers in the group for a spin down a steep trail on a mountain bike.
• Vigorous Winter,by Mead senior Kevin Kissinger, dismisses the notion that cross-country runners don’t have a wild life.
Other writers whose entries made the final round of judging include Andria Charles of Mt. Spokane High School, Austin Hall of Deer Park, Jaydin Ludeman of Jenkins (Chewelah), Samuel Voves of Freeman, Gabriella Alvarez of Northstar, Shannon Payne, Peter Weller and Kelton Hedstrom of Mead and Zephaniah Johnson, home-schooled from Deer Park.
Bortz will receive $50 for first place. Each of the runners-up will get $30. The four finalists will be entered in the Outdoor Writers Association of America Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest, which is open to outdoor writing published in 2015 by junior high or high school students.
National winners, who can earn up to $200, will be announced next spring.
In 29 years, 44 finalists from The Spokesman- Review contest have gone on to win national awards.
This year’s entries were judged by newspaper Outdoors editor Rich Landers and writer Dan Hansen. The winning contest entries have been illustrated since 1986 by Rockford artist Dale Hamilton, a Central Valley graduate.
The contest is limited to entrants from the newspaper’s circulation area. Details of the 2016 contest will be announced in September.
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