2022 Creative Writing Tournament Winners

Every year Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSOS) hosts a Writing Tournament where students from local middle schools gather at the Miners Foundry for a day of writing. The tournament lasts most of the day as students compete in three categories: Informative Writing, Creative Writing, and Persuasive Writing.

Since Covid-19 struck, a new event emerged to take its place: The Creative Writing Competition. In its second year, the Creative Writing Competition has given Nevada County students an opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills in a Covid-safe virtual environment.

Eighteen (18) seventh and eighth grade students from twelve local schools were chosen as the best of their grade, to represent their school in the county-wide competition. They were asked to respond to one of the following prompts:

  1. Compose a story using characters from one book or movie in the setting of a different book or movie.
  2. You discover a secret door in your home.  What happens next?
  3. Compose a story inspired by this piece of art:
children at a playground

“Confrontation” by Hughie Lee-Smith, 1970 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

The stories were judged by a panel of five volunteer judges, made up of former teachers.

The winners of the 2022 Creative Writing Competition are:

7th Grade:

1st Place –     Wilder McGrew, Nevada City School of the Arts

2nd Place –    Lena Cooke (Helen), Forest Lake Christian

3rd Place –    Scarlett Uhlig, Uhlig Academy Homeschool

8th Grade:

1st Place – Ruby Makoutz, Twin Ridges

2nd Place – Eleni Keriotis, Grass Valley Charter

3rd Place – Josh Theim, Forest Charter

Timothy May, Nevada County Board of Education member was one of the judges.  About the winning seventh grade piece, May said, “The story within, told in flashback, addresses Prompt 3 (“Confrontation”) beautifully, with a story that both characterizes the two girls and plausibly interprets the visual elements of the painting. The narrative details the sophisticated setting for the adult narrator, the recollection of events years earlier on the anniversary of her sister’s death–all the elements of the story are quite impressive for a 7th grade writer.”

The eighth-grade winner wrote in response to the second prompt and its narrator fell through a secret door, landing in a school’s janitor closet. “The author has written a great story about the rewards that come to young person who, surrounded by peer conformity, imagines a way to be their own person.” said May.

Two people wearing masks

Superintendent, Scott W. Lay with 7th Grade winner, Wilder McGrew                   

7th Grade Winner

8th Grade winner, Ruby Makoutz