Young Authors Honored

  • Multiple Writers Earn State Recognition

Salisbury, Md. – The Eastern Shore Literacy Association was back at Salisbury University to host its annual Young Authors’ Contest Awards Ceremony after navigating alternative options because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual contest continues to be the premiere writing opportunity for young writers in the Shore’s lower three counties, which encompasses entries from public, private, and homeschooled students.

“We are so thankful for of those who continued to support our annual contest over these past few years. From our virtual awards ceremony in 2021 to last year’s pivot to move our award ceremony to The Salisbury School, I cannot express how fortunate the Eastern Shore Literacy Association has been because we have not missed a beat through the past few years of chaos where other state literacy organizations have cancelled their Young Authors’ Contest or had limited entries,” Dr. Brian Cook, ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Co-Chair, stated in a release. “The Eastern Shore has some of the most dedicated teachers who ensured this annual contest continued at a high level and it was no different as we gathered tonight in Holloway Hall at Salisbury University.”

ESLA’s annual contest was comprised of students in grades 1-12 and two categories, poetry and short story, available in each of those grade levels. Winners in each grade and category move onto the state-level competition.

“Anytime you can highlight a child who is working and challenging themselves to improve their writing is a huge win,” Lizanne Wallace, ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Co-Chair. “We were excited to announce our winners’ tonight.”

Local winners included the following students:

Elementary School Results

Grade 1, Short Story – (1) Vincent Fasano, Worcester Preparatory School; (2) Piper Lynch, Buckingham Elementary; (3) Quinn Westbrook, Buckingham Elementary.

Grade 2, Poetry – (1-tie) Samantha Kuna-Neto, The Salisbury School; (1-tie) Isla Pippin, Worcester Preparatory School; (2) Lily Gelman, Showell Elementary; (3-tie) Amelia Auchey, The Salisbury School; (3-tie) Rhett Geiger, Ocean City Elementary.

Grade 2, Short Story – (1) Cole Parsons, The Salisbury School; (2) Sailor Giska,  Buckingham Elementary; (3) Rhett Geiger, Ocean City Elementary.

Grade 3, Poetry – (1) Charlize Nayla Damouni, Worcester Preparatory School; (2-tie) Leona Perdue, North Salisbury Elementary; (2-tie) Jessie James Richards, North Salisbury Elementary; (3-tie) Miles Colon, North Salisbury Elementary; (3-tie) Cruz Montoya, Pocomoke Elementary.

Grade 3, Short Story – (1) Evelyn Caudill, Showell Elementary; (2) William B. Heim, North Salisbury Elementary; (3-tie) Maisie Gill, Ocean City Elementary; (3-tie) Emma Grace Hailey, Buckingham Elementary.

Grade 4, Poetry – (1) Gianna Baines, Buckingham Elementary; (2) Serena Jaoude, Worcester Preparatory School; (3-tie) Claire Hakeem, North Salisbury Elementary; (3-tie) Andrew Bartkovich, The Salisbury School.

Grade 4, Short Story – (1) Jefferson Bounds, The Salisbury School; (2) Sloane Smith, Worcester Preparatory School; (3) Eli Parker, Worcester Preparatory School.

Grade 5, Poetry – (1) Lea Jaoude, Worcester Preparatory School; (2) Ronit Poddar, Berlin Intermediate School; (3) Leo Geiger, Berlin Intermediate School.

Grade 5, Short Story – (1) Jeremy Quan, North Salisbury Elementary; (2) Rowan White, Westside Intermediate School; (3) Jamie Wade, The Salisbury School.

Middle School Results

Grade 6, Poetry – (1) Alisa Jasjko, Berlin Intermediate School; (2-tie) Lilly Elizabeth Finkbeiner, Bennett Middle; (2-tie) Kristie Carr, Worcester Preparatory School; (3) Claire Sullivan, Berlin Intermediate School.

Grade 6, Short Story – (1) Ara Kang, Berlin Intermediate School; (2) Ruby Mirabelle Ludwick, St. Francis de Sales Catholic School; (3) Elias Baldridge, Berlin Intermediate School.

Grade 7, Poetry – (1) Aberle Bunting, Stephen Decatur Middle; (2) Aidan Cooper, Stephen Decatur Middle; (3) Vivien Ruggerio, Worcester Preparatory School.

Grade 7, Short Story – (1) Paul Kraeuter, Worcester Preparatory School; (2) Scarlett Shimko, Worcester Preparatory School; (3) Israel David, Stephen Decatur Middle.

Grade 8, Poetry – (1) Peter Jin, Salisbury Middle; (2) Ronnie Becerra, Bennett Middle; (3) Claire Marie Webster, Bennett Middle.

Grade 8, Short Story – (1) Jude McDowell, The Salisbury School; (2-tie) Nathan Baskerville, Stephen Decatur Middle; (2-tie) Mia Jaoude, Worcester Preparatory School; (3-tie) Lara Marie Owens, Worcester Preparatory School; (3-tie) Sylvie Hershberger, The Salisbury School.

High School Results

Grade 9, Poetry – (1) Kathryn Miller-Vail, Stephen Decatur High; (2) Jude Roger Damouni, Worcester Preparatory School; (3-tie) Tyler Netting, Worcester Preparatory School; (3-tie) Savvy Aralyn Wertz, Snow Hill High.

Grade 9, Short Story – (1) Sophia Bailey, Parkside; (2) Savvy Aralyn Wertz, Snow Hill High; (3) April Dashiell and Jessica Liu, Pocomoke High.

Grade 10, Poetry – (1) Ava Baer, Mardela Middle & High; (2) Wai Poorman, James M. Bennett High; (3-tie) Christopher Kim, James M. Bennett High; (3-tie) Lauren Sulzbach-Oliveira, Parkside High.

Grade 10, Short Story – (1) Ava Baer, Mardela Middle & High; (2) Allen Zhang, Worcester Preparatory School; (3) Jayden Scopp, Worcester Preparatory School.

Grade 11, Poetry – (1) Abbi Weeks, Stephen Decatur High; (2) Ava Skorobatsch, Pocomoke High; (3-tie) Madeline Hamm, Stephen Decatur High; (3-tie) Dakotah Trader, Pocomoke High.

Grade 11, Short Story – (1) Abbi Weeks, Stephen Decatur High; (2) Dylan McGovern, Worcester Preparatory School; (3) Simran Jain, Stephen Decatur High.

Grade 12, Poetry – (1) Jessica Beck, Stephen Decatur High; (2) Jay Schmuff, Parkside High; (3) Jett Odachowski, Worcester Preparatory School.

Grade 12, Short Story – (1) Arlenni Rodriguez-Carpio, Stephen Decatur High; (2) Airiyel Yuneke, Stephen Decatur High; (3) Emily Leon, The Salisbury School.

State-Level Winners

  • Grade 2, Short Story, 1st Place, The Angry Wind by Cole Parsons (The Salisbury School)
  • Grade 4, Poetry, 1st Place, Restoring Friendship by Gianna Baines (Buckingham Elementary)
  • Grade 4, Short Story, 1st Place, The Allergy Viking by Jefferson Bounds (The Salisbury School)
  • Grade 6, Poetry, 2nd Place, The Wildest Dreams by Alisa Jasko (Berlin Intermediate)
  • Grade 6, Short Story, 2nd Place, The Haunted Road by Ara Kang (Berlin Intermediate)
  •  Grade 7, Poetry, Honorable Mention, Rhonda Walsh by Aberle Bunting (Stephen Decatur Middle)
  • Grade 7, Short Story, 2nd Place, A Dark Dark Sahdow by Paul Kraeuter (Worcester Preparatory)
  • Grade 8, Poetry, Honorable Mention, The Island by Peter Jin (Salisbury Middle)
  • Grade 9, Poetry, 2nd Place, Unrequited by Kathryn Miller-Vail (Stephen Decatur High)
  • Grade 9, Short Story, 1st Place, Hiraeth by Sophia Bailey (Parkside High)
  • Grade 10, Short Story, 2nd Place, The Author by Ava Baer (Mardela Middle & High)
  • Grade 11, Poetry, 1st Place, The Butterfly Effect by Abbi Weeks (Stephen Decatur High)
  • Grade 11, Short Story, 2nd Place, Past, Present, and the Spacein Between by Abbi Weeks (Stephen Decatur High)
  • Grade 12, Poetry, 1st Place, Filling Pages by Jessica Beck (Stephen Decatur High)
  • Grade 12, Short Story, 2nd Place, The Dream Keeper by Arlenni Rodriguez-Carpio (Stephen Decatur High)

About the Eastern Shore Literacy Association

ESLA is a non-profit organization that supports Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties with the purpose of promoting a literate society by bringing together a network of people dedicated to sharing knowledge and information about literacy through programs and services. ESLA, is an affiliate of the State of Maryland Literacy Association (SoMLA), a leading literacy organization in Maryland comprised of over 1,500 members in 17 active chapters.


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