Contest entries are ranked by a panel of judges which includes elected officials, college administrators, librarians, retired teachers and authors and others in the community. Cash prizes, gift certificates and Certificates of Achievement were presented to the authors of this year’s 55 winning entries at an awards ceremony held in May at Haverhill High School.
During the awards program, Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn gave contest winners a pep talk, saying the only thing that makes him happier than being in a room full of books, is “being in a room full of writers.”
“And this is a room full of very creative and talented writers,” Glenn said.
He told students that writing can help transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
“Whatever you choose to do, the chances are very good that you will need to be able to express yourself clearly in writing,” he said. “Being a good writer will help you get your foot in the door, and keep it there.”
He also told students that as writers, many of them will make a difference with their words, and noted a number of literary giants including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, J.R.R. Tolkein and J.K. Rowling, whose words he said made a difference in the lives of millions of people.
“They helped entertain and enlighten, they explained history and changed the course of countries and politics, they preserved nature, and helped children rediscover the wonder of books,” Glenn said. “They did all this and a lot more, and so can you.”
Among this year’s winning entries was a story by fourth-grader Chelsea Daigle, which she titled “The Witch and the Messy Lab.”
Here is an excerpt: “Settled in the deep woods was a small village of witch families. In this village, there was a young girl named Jazmine. Jazmine owned a bakery where she made magical pastries of all kinds ... She worked in the small, dark basement with shelves cluttered with bottles, jars and all kinds of witch stuff and of course all the books filled with her secret recipes. This is where she created all her delicious masterpieces including cakes, cookies and special pastries.”