By: M.C. Reyes, Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Board Member.
NE Polk County - During the Months of November through February, The Northeast Polk Gazette received entries for our first young writing contest.
As part of our commitment to our community, we launched the "NE Polk Gazette Young Writers Award" to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Our goal with this competition was to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students.
Students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades were invited to enter in one of the following categories:
1. Poetry: Two-three poems.
2. Fiction: A short story (1,500 words or fewer).
3. Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (750 words or fewer).
One winner was to be selected in each category. The winner in each category would be awarded a prize of $500 each.
As expected, many high school students from the Polk County area sent us their stories and a panel of six judges, selected the winners. The panel members included two college graduate students, a senior high school student, a life and health coach/motivational writer, a NE Polk Gazette board member, and Ambassador Retired Harry K. Thomas, Jr. who previously served as the US Ambassador for Zimbabwe, the Philippines, and Bangladesh before retiring from the Foreign Service in March 2018.
It is with pleasure that we present to you the winners for our first young writing contest.
* For Poetry, we had a tie and the winners are Octavia Jackson and Ethan Thomas, both from Winter Haven High School.
* For Fiction (Short Story), we also had a tie and the winners are Isabelle Arias- Runyan and Alanna Goodson, both from Lake Wales High school.
* For Non-Fiction, the winner is Ambar Disla-Borja from Winter Haven High School.
The Northeast Polk Gazette and its Board Members want to congratulate our winners for their amazing entries and wish them all the best in their college careers.
Photos of the winners receiving their awards will be published in our April edition.