In this year’s State of Maryland International Reading Association Council’s Young Authors Contest, freshman Kendra Chadwick placed first in the 9th grade poetry category with her poem “Hands and Hearts.” Chadwick took part in the ceremony held in honor of all the winners and shared her award-winning poem with those in attendance.
This prestigious contest is broken up into two categories for each grade: a poetry section and short story contest. Writers from each grade level up through 12th grade can participate in the contest. The winners were notified of their achievement via email and were asked to present an excerpt from what they had written.
Though this was Chadwick’s first time entering the contest, it was certainly not the first time she had ever heard about it.
“I’ve known about it since I was in fifth grade,” said Chadwick. “That year, my sister won the contest in second grade.” Her sister’s success inspired Chadwick to pursue this goal.
“Usually, I don’t check my email, so I found out a week before the ceremony,” Chadwick said about her win. “At first I thought, this isn’t real. Then I thought it really was real.”
Though Chadwick may have been surprised, her English teacher, Ms. Sandra Davis certainly was not. Ms. Davis is able to frequently experience the award-winner’s writing in the English class. Not only does Chadwick’s poetry stand out, but her general writing as a student has also impressed Ms. Davis.
“Kendra is an excellent writer in general, but it was easy to see her creativity in the beginning of the year,” Ms. Davis said.
When she found out that Chadwick had earned first place in the state of Maryland for her poem, Ms Davis said, “I was thrilled, and, frankly not surprised. Her poem is fantastic.”
For people who are interested in starting to write creatively, Ms. Davis said, “My advice would be to write at every opportunity without worrying about doing it ‘right.’ Write about what you know, what you love, and in the format you enjoy the most. And most importantly, have fun.”
Chadwick’s passion is an example of a creative opportunity that nearly anyone can take part in; in fact, students can take any hobby or interest and make it something to remember.
The Young Authors contest takes place every year, so people who enjoy writing like Kendra Chadwick can take part in the opportunity to have their work judged and recognized.