A story by Harley Swedyk, a sophomore at Mead High School, has been judged the best of 36 entries in The Spokesman-Review’s 2021 Outdoor Writing Contest for high school students.
In a “A Teenager’s Guide to Inner Peace,” Swedyk unpacks the beauty of a seemingly ordinary moment at Manito Park and makes an impassioned call for paying attention.
Ben Shannon, a senior at Mead High School, took second place with a short story called “Gone Fishin’ ” which details the complexity and joy of bass fishing.
Third place went to Kjersten Hemenway, a freshman at University High School, for his story “Dryad,” a fantastical piece that gives voice to the trees.
Fourth place went to Irie Cook, a sophomore at The Community School for the poem “My Mother Earth” a detailed and lyrical eulogy to the Earth.
Runner-up was awarded to Anders Weaver, a junior at Mead High School for his piece “Hooked on Adrenaline,” a fun story about a teenager learning to love fishing, despite his own best efforts.
The four finalists will be entered in the Outdoor Writers Association of America Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest, open to outdoor writing published in 2021 by junior high or high school students.
National winners, who can earn up to $200, will be announced next spring.
In 35 years, 47 finalists from The S-R contest have won national awards. The contest is limited to entrants from the newspaper’s circulation area. Details of the 2022 S-R contest will be announced in September.
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