Finalist Named in Young Authors’ Contest





Salisbury, Md. – Talented students writers continue to shine showcasing a plethora of descriptive language, rhyme schemes, and emotions towards social issues current in society in the Eastern Shore Literacy Association’s (ESLA) annual Young Authors’ Contest. After hours of scoring and deliberating on the talented student artifacts, ESLA is proud to announce its finalist in the 2023 Young Authors’ Contest. Finalists are individuals who have finished in the top three in their respective category, poetry or short story, and grade level. Each finalist in grades 1-12 submitted an original writing artifact that was judged using a blind scoring method.

“We have been blessed to have many talented students and teachers continually support the Young Authors’ Contest and this year’s entries was similar to our pre-COVID years with over 300 entries and many schools that opted not to submit during the grim COVID years submit more entries than ever,” ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Chair Dr. Brian Cook explained as finalist are comprised of students from 19 area schools, public and private. “I am always excited to see schools that don’t normally submit many submissions, like Buckingham Elementary and Parkside High School, and have multiple finalists.”

ESLA is looking forward to gathering face-to-face for this year’s awards ceremony slated for March 8, 2023 at 6:30pm in Holloway Hall Auditorium at Salisbury University. Author Jennifer Keats Curtis will serve as the evening’s keynote speaker and will have books available for purchase following the ceremony.

“We are excited to be coming together to celebrate our talented authors as it’s a very special evening for our finalists,” ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Co-Chair Lizanne Wallace stated. “We try to give our students a red-carpet event and Salisbury University’s Holloway Hall is a dynamic backdrop to celebrate our writers.”

Individuals earning finalist status are listed alphabetically by last name in each grade and category. The order shown below does not reflect the placement where student authors finished

Local winners included the following students:

Grade 1, Poetry – No entries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Grade 11, Poetry – Madeline Hamm (Stephen Decatur High); Dakotah Trader (Pocomoke High); Ava Skorobatsch (Pocomoke High); Abbi Weeks (Stephen Decatur High).

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

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

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


*Indicates category did not have three finalists.

**Indicates category had a tie resulting in more than three finalists.

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.