2022 Nevada County Schools Creative Writing Tournament Winners – YubaNet

Each year, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSOS) hosts a writing tournament where local college students 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.

Since Covid-19 hit, a new event has emerged to take its place: the Creative Writing Contest. In its second year, the creative writing competition gave Nevada County students the opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills in a Covid-secured virtual environment.

Eighteen (18) seventh and eighth graders from twelve local schools were chosen as the top of their class, to represent their school in the county-wide competition. They were asked to respond to one of the following prompts:

  1. Make up a story using characters from one book or movie as part of a different book or movie.
  2. You discover a secret door in your house. What happens next?
  3. Compose a story inspired by this work of art:
Confrontation by Hughie Lee-Smith ca. 1970. Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design

The stories were judged by a panel of five volunteer judges, made up of former teachers. The winners of the 2022 Creative Writing Competition are:

7and To note:

1st Venue – Wilder McGrew, Nevada City School of the Arts
2n/a Location – Lena Cooke (Helen), Forest Lake Christian
3rd Venue – Scarlett Uhlig, Uhlig Academy Home School

8and To note:

1st Location – Ruby Makoutz, Twin Ridges
2n/a Venue – Eleni Keriotis, Grass Valley Charter School
3rd Venue – Josh Theim, Forest Charter School

Nevada County Board of Education member Timothy May was one of the judges. Of the seventh-grade winning play, May said, “The story within, told in flashback, tackles prompt 3 (“Confrontation”) beautifully, with a story that characterizes both girls and plausibly interprets the visual elements of the painting. The narrative details the sophisticated setting for the adult narrator, the recollection of events years earlier on the anniversary of his sister’s death – all of the story elements are quite impressive for a 7th grade writer.

The eighth grade winner wrote in response to the second prompt and his narrator fell through a secret door, landing in a school’s janitor’s closet. “The author has written a great story about the rewards that accrue to young people who, surrounded by conformity with their peers, imagine a way to be their own person.” said May.