Shanelle Moore, 10, has won first place in Polar Expressions Publishing’s 2012/2013 National Student Short-Story Contest for her submission ‘The Magical Whap’.
“I didn’t want to do it at first, but I’m happy I did,” said Moore, explaining she is generally no great fan of homework.
The Grade 4 student entered the contest through teacher Kim Ivanko’s English class at Ecole Boreale as part of a homework assignment.
This is the sixth year Ivanko has had her students participate in the writing contest, with around 20 or so from the school published in the compilation ‘Starlight’. The book includes the top 25-45 per cent of all entries, varying with the number of contestants in each grade level and the required length of the stories, from Kindergarten all the way to Grade 12.
“It started off as a way to give them an opportunity to be published,” Ivanko said. “They don’t really have a choice in entering, but they’re all pretty proud when the book comes out.”
Moore’s entry, about a magical tool that can take the place of many existing implements, won her $100, with Ecole Boreale receiving the same amount. While Moore has not yet earmarked her winnings for anything in particular, the school’s share will buy new books for Ivanko’s English classes.
“I tell them this is one of the few school assignments for which they can win money,” Ivanko said. “I think it’s good to take things out of the classroom and show them there is an applicable purpose to the work they do.”
Stephanie Wiedemann, Moore’s mother, was pleasantly surprised by her daughter’s achievement, as she noted her daughter prefers reading and drawing to writing assignments.
“She doesn’t really go out and write stories all the time,” said Wiedemann of Moore. “But she’s really happy to have done this one and see her name and work published in a book.”
Ivanko said there is a second writing contest over the summer, in which she hopes some of her students will take part. While the word limit for the most recent contest was 450, the summer version demands approximately 750 for the same Grade 4 level.
“This one wouldn’t be for grades or anything,” Ivanko said. “But I hope some of them do it. I tell them it’s something they can put on their resumes or in portfolios in the future, and that it’s worth the effort.”
Moore claimed she would definitely be entering the summer writing contest since the first time she participated turned out so well.
— Sarah Ladik