By Leslie H. Dixon
PARIS — An Oxford Hills Middle School aspiring writer has received recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards.
Chloe Hodgdon, an eighth-grade student from Paris, won a Silver Key Award and eight of her classmates won honorable mentions in the 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards.
“This is the first time we’ve entered the yearly contest,” said eighth-grade language arts teacher Jolene Twombley-Wiser.
The students will be honored at an award ceremony Friday, March 17, at USM in Portland.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have been presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers since 1923. It recognizes exceptional artistic and literary talent through the Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mentions awards.
Teens in grades seven through 12 apply in 29 categories of art and writing. Last year, students submitted nearly 320,000 works of art and writing to the Scholastic Awards, according to information from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards office. Submissions are judged by well known visual and literary artists.
Twombley-Wiser said she received notification of the awards from Jennifer Camire, who works at the University of Southern Maine at the Research Service Center. In that letter Camire noted former Scholastic Teen award winners included Robert McCloskey, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates and many others.
Chloe, in fact, joins the rank of another Scholastic Award winner and Mainer Stephen King, who happens to be one of her favorite writers.
As a Silver Key winner, her essay was judged to be a “stand-out work” that demonstrated “exceptional ability,” according to the Scholastic Awards program.
Chloe described her essay, “Forever Gone,” as a story about a girl “who struggles with the loss of her sister and feels it’s her fault.”
She said it was an attempt to write in the same genre of stories she enjoys reading.
“I’ve read many emotional stories that I enjoyed reading, so for the contest I wanted to see if I liked writing emotional stories just as much as I liked reading them,” she explained. “At first I started writing a story about a girl dealing with cancer whose doctors trying to hide her true fate, but the more I wrote it the more I disliked how it was coming out so I started thinking of a new idea for a story and I ended up with this.”
Chloe, who lives in Paris, said in her spare time she enjoys solving puzzles like the Rubik’s Cube and is involved in a after-school club called STEM Lab where she gets to do engineering, science and math related activities.
She is “passionate” about learning. In the future she is interested in becoming a scientist or engineer and pursuing writing as a hobby.
“I think I would write mostly fiction but I’m not sure of the genre,” Chloe said. Like many writers she loves to read. Her favorite authors include Stephen King, Robert Kirkman, and Jay Bonansinga.
Twombley-Wiser said she is excited about the opportunity for her students.
“I think it’s a powerful experience that can change the way they see themselves – as bona-fide writers,” said Twombley-Wiser
Excerpt from “Forever Young”
The sound of the engine brings my memories flooding back and they hit almost as hard as the truck did. My car, my shortcut, my driving, her death, my fault. The car door suddenly slams shut and the sound of it snaps me out of my nightmare, as I escape back into reality I feel a single tear on my cheek. I decide that it was just the wind that shut the door and I quickly buckle my seatbelt and the sound sends a shiver down my spine, “If only I noticed the sound of Amber unbuckling, if only I had known her fate.”
OHMS 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards Winners
Silver Key Award (Stand-out works submitted to local programs that demonstrate exceptional ability.)
Honorable Mention (Accomplished works submitted to local programs showing great skill and potential.)