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HCPSS Students Take Top Honors at Annual Young Authors’ Contest

March 22nd, 2023

Female student reading his submission for the Young Author's Contest.

Seven HCPSS students were selected among the winners of the 2022-2023 Young Authors’ Contest (YAC). Organized by the State of Maryland Literacy Association (SoMLA), the contest is open to Maryland public and private school students in grades 1-12 who write and submit a poem and/or a short story on a topic of their choosing.

This year’s state-level winners from HCPSS include:

To enter the state-level competition, students had to first enter their short story and/or poem into their school-level contest. Teachers at the school reviewed the submissions and awarded the top poem and short story for each grade. The top submissions were then entered into the county-level competition, where a panel of judges rated them on readability, creativity and other criteria. The top-scoring poem and short story from each grade were entered into the state contest, and, from there, judges selected the state winners for each grade.

Male student reading his submission for the Young Author's Contest.

A full list of the 2022 state-level YAC winners will be posted on the SoMLA website in April after the students are celebrated at the SoMLA annual conference. A list of county-level winners from Howard County is currently available on the Howard County Literacy Association’s (HCLA) website.

The first and second place county-level winners from Howard County were recognized at a series of celebrations, starting with Reading Day on March 19. During this event, which was open to the public and was held from 12-3 p.m. in the children’s section of Barnes and Noble in Ellicott City, students had the opportunity to read their contest submission(s) aloud.

A female student reading her submission to the Young Author's Contest.

Next, the Howard County winners and their families will take part in the Young Authors’ Celebration on March 23. At that invitation-only event, students will receive awards and hear from local author Miranda Mittleman about her experience as a writer. They also will receive an anthology containing all the first and second-place submissions from Howard County.

The last celebration of the year, hosted by SoMLA, will be a virtual celebration for the state-level winners. That event, being held on March 31, will culminate in the release of a digital anthology featuring the works of all the state-level winners and that will be made available on the SoMLA website.

“There is so much that students gain from participating in the Young Authors’ Contest,” says HCPSS Elementary Social Studies Resource Teacher Kelly Davis, who also serves as HCLA president and chair of SoMLA. “They become better readers and better writers; they get to discover and explore their voice; and they get the experience of becoming published authors.”

A young girl reading her submission to the Young Authors' Contest. class=

Moreover, the contest provides students license to get creative, says Bellows Springs first-grade teacher Alison Rudo, who has been involved with YAC for nearly 25 years.

“Part of what makes this contest great is that it gives students so much flexibility. They get to choose what they want to write about and how they are going to write about it,” she explains. “Giving them that freedom allows them to really get creative and find joy in the writing process.”

“The contest is a delight to run in Howard County,” says Maria Moy, a second grade teacher at Manor Woods Elementary School and the HCLA YAC elementary chair. “We have such supportive parents who encourage their children to engage their creativity and assist with submission guidelines. Our school staff help out by promoting the contest and then judging at the local level. It’s a true team effort.”

More information on the Young Authors’ Contest and the Howard County Literacy Association is available online.