2020-2021 WriteNow! Award Ceremony

The 2021 WriteNow! High School Writing Contest features original writing in poetry, short story, creative non-fiction, and persuasive essay from high schoolers across the Northeast Metro. Scroll on to read and celebrate the work of ALL this year's award winners.

Grades 9 & 10


Award of Excellence: Anna Rose, “Blind Divisions” PDF

Award of Merit: Arianna Vann-Cook, “Unease” PDF

Honorable Mention: Arianna Vann-Cook, “For Jaycee” PDF

Honorable Mention: Greta Cunningham, “How We Talk” PDF

Honorable Mention: Wonser Mongrue, “Not Finished Yet!” PDF

"I treasure judging this contest every year. Most years the poems submitted reflect the turbulence in society, or the state of injustice in your schools, in your homes... I hope you all continue to use your unique poetic gifts in tough times and in good times. Your words are powerful." – Mary Kolles, Poetry Judge

Creative Nonfiction

Award of Excellence: Arianna Vann-Cook, “The Words We Never Exchanged” PDF

Award of Merit: Ofelia Louise Pineda, “Hide-and-Seek” PDF

Persuasive Essay

Award of Excellence: Sara McBride, “Environmental Racism: How Environmental Hazards Disproportionately Affect Communities of Color” PDF

Award of Merit: Reece Blankenship, “Ditching Diet Culture” PDF

Short Story

Award of Excellence: Ari Shimek, “Surface Report #8391192572” PDF

Award of Merit: Arianna Vann-Cook, “Significant Figures” PDF

Honorable Mention: Celia Fuhrman, “Why Are You Here?” PDF

"I’m always impressed by the topics the students choose to write about. They oftentimes choose topics that deal with issues of social justice and equity, topics that address the way our society and culture continues to change as we become more centered around technology and social media. They’re topics that are so important not just to the young people who chose to write about them, but to our society as a whole." – Anne Swanson, Persuasive Essay Judge

Grades 11 & 12


Award of Excellence: Paige Miller, “If Paintings Were Poems” PDF

Award of Merit: Charlotte Perron, “Paradox” PDF

Honorable Mention: Paige Miller, “Grand Marais, Minnesota” PDF

Creative Nonfiction

Award of Excellence: Hannah Rose Bruentrup, “Addictive” PDF

Award of Merit: Paige Miller, “A Little Red Journal, You Can Read it if You Want” PDF

Short Story

Award of Excellence: Paige Miller, “Black Pearls in an Amber Sea” PDF

Award of Merit: Madeline Taipale, “Futility” PDF

Honorable Mention: Phoebe Diez, “The Shadow” PDF

"I would like to congratulate everyone that in this difficult year managed to complete this fine work and submit it. You’re a winner every time you submit, because anybody that learns to and has the courage to submit their work at a young age has a whole lifetime of being part of the writing community ahead of them." – Mary Jane Lavigne, Creative Nonfiction Judge

A special thank you to all of the school coordinators involved and judges!


Bonus Material:

See Wonser Mongrue perform "Not Finished Yet!"

Read Poetry Judge Anne M Picard's "Pressure"

Read full judge's commentary from Poetry Judge Mary Kolles

Opening Remarks:

"Blind Divisions":

"The Words We Never Exchanged":

"Environmental Racism: How Environmental Hazards Disproportionately Affect Communities of Color":

"If Paintings Were Poems":


Excerpt of "Black Pearls in an Amber Sea":