Winners Named in ESLA Young Authors Contest

Winners Named in ESLA Young Authors Contest
Posted on 03/06/2019
Worcester County Public Schools is proud to announce that two students were named state winners in the Eastern Shore Literacy Association's 2019 Young Authors' Contest in addition to the 22 students who received accolades at the local level. 

Salisbury, Md. – The Eastern Shore Literacy Association (ESLA) filled the Holloway Hall Auditorium at Salisbury University Tuesday evening to announce the 2019 Young Authors’ Contest winners. Receiving entries from 20 public and private schools on the Shore’s lower three counties, the contest continues to become more and more competitive as the quality of writing is improving among entries. 

“We are very proud of the students who entered this year’s contest,” Dr. Brian Cook, ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Co-Chair, stated in a release. He indicated the contest was comprised of students in grades 2-12 and two categories, poetry and short story, available in each of those grade levels. Those invited for the awards ceremony received a finalist postcard notifying them they were a top three place winner. “Anytime you can highlight a child who is working and challenging themselves to improve their writing is a huge win. Many of our students here tonight were first time winners and were beaming as they came up to receive their award; it was truly exciting.”

Prior to announcing awards winner students were inspired by the words of award winning author Jennifer Keats Curtis. Curtis focuses her work on children’s literature and articulated the power of perseverance and to never stop writing to the children. Keats was available to socialize with students and discuss the writing prompt.

The top winners in each grade level and category were forwarded onto the state level competition hosted by the State of Maryland Literacy Association. For the first time, ESLA was able to announce the state level winners at the local event. The Lower Shore had five students garner a first or second place ranking in the state Young Authors’ Contest.  

“We continue to be well represented at the state level,” Lizanne Wallace, ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Co-Chair, stated in a release. “It is no longer uncommon to have Eastern Shore students place at the state. Our writers continue to get better and better every year. We are proud of their accomplishments as well their teacher’s dedication to improve writing instruction. The Young Authors’ Contest is reaping the benefits of strong teachers.”


Below are the winners named at the award ceremony.

  • Brynlee Waters, Ocean City Elementary, Grade 2 Short Story – 1st place
  • Carley Malone, North Salisbury Elementary School, Grade 4 Short Story – 2nd place
  • Alexis Robertson, The Salisbury School, Grade 9 Poetry – 2nd place
  • Rosy Gao, James M. Bennett High, Grade 9 Short Story – 2nd place
  • Hanna Lehner, Stephen Decatur High, Grade 11 Poetry – 1st place


Grade 2, Poetry
First Place: Bre’ara Thompson, Glen Avenue Elementary
Second Place: Kayleigh Webster, Glen Avenue Elementary
Third Place: Trevor Langton, Glen Avenue Elementary

Grade 2, Short Story
First Place: Brynlee Waters, Ocean City Elementary
Second Place: Elias Baldridge, Ocean City Elementary
Third Place: Kenley Hallett, Ocean City Elementary

Grade 3, Poetry
First Place: Ellie Phillips, Worcester Prep
Second Place: Josiah Sessoms, Pocomoke Elementary
Third Place: Cecilia Diehlmann, Ocean City Elementary

Grade 3, Short Story
First Place: Harper Hertrich, Worcster Prep
Second Place: Ryan Shipp, Worcester Prep
Third Place: Macaulley Jimmerson, North Salisbury Elementary

Grade 4, Poetry
First Place: Peyton Davis, North Salisbury Elementary
Second Place: Henry Holt, Worcester Prep
Third Place: Gabriella Chloe Damouni, Worcester Prep

Grade 4, Short Story
First Place: Carley Malone, North Salisbury Elementary
Second Place: Peter Jin, North Salisbury Elementary
Third Place: Miles Cox, Northwestern Elementary

Grade 5, Poetry
First Place: Brody Webster, Deal Island Elementary
Second Place: Aidan Gray, Deal Island Elementary
Third Place: Kamryn Noble, Deal Island Elementary

Grade 5, Short Story
First Place: Emily Whitelock, Deal Island Elementary
Second Place: Caitlin Shimko, Worcester Prep
Third Place: Jaren Hudson, Snow Hill Middle

Grade 6, Poetry
First Place: Diva Shrestha, Salisbury Middle
Second Place: Megan Mitchell, Bennett Middle
Third Place: Sydney Tingle, Worcester Prep

Grade 6, Short Story
First Place: Ava Baer, Mardela Middle & High
Second Place: Megan Mitchell, Bennett Middle
Third Place: Trezure Trader, Salisbury Middle

Grade 7, Poetry
First Place: Pim Noparat, Stephen Decatur Middle
Second Place: Mariah Robertson, The Salisbury School
Third Place: Samantha Lambertson, Pocomoke Middle

Grade 7, Short Story
First Place: Aiden Clayton, Pocomoke Middle
Second Place: Simran Jain, Stephen Decatur Middle
Third Place: Zarriah S. Tobias, Stephen Decatur Middle

Grade 8, Poetry
First Place: Ivorie Helmbright, Stephen Decatur Middle
Second Place: Leigha Early, The Salisbury School
Third Place: Jack Greenwood, Stephen Decatur Middle

Grade 8, Short Story
First Place: Isabella Scheeler, Pocomoke Middle
Second Place: Emily Leon, The Salisbury School
Third Place: Breanne Ferguson, Stephen Decatur Middle

Grade 9, Poetry
First Place: Alexis Robertson, The Salisbury School
Second Place: Morgan Johnson, The Salisbury School
Third Place: K. Cliff Collins, Pocomoke High

Grade 9, Short Story
First Place: Rosy Gao, James M. Bennett High
Second Place: Madeline Umsted, Mardela Middle & High
Third Place: Jenna Smith James M. Bennett High

Grade 10, Poetry
First Place: Hannah Perdue, Worcester Prep
Second Place: Briden Edney, James M. Bennett High
Third Place: Jonas Rush, Homeschooled

Grade 10, Short Story
First Place: Sophia Smith, James M. Bennett High
Second Place: Simon Lewis, James M. Bennett High
Third Place: Lanie Gladding, Pocomoke High

Grade 11, Poetry
First Place: Hanna Lehner, Stephen Decatur High
Second Place: Sophia Peters, James M. Bennett High
Third Place: Madison Synowiec, James M. Bennett High

*Grade 11, Short Story
First Place: Ted Hirsch, James M. Bennett High
Second Place: Daniel Cruz, James M. Bennett High
Third Place: No place winner awarded.

Grade 12, Poetry 
First Place: Quinn Onley, Pocomoke High
Second Place: Gracie Boyce, Pocomoke High
Third Place: Victoria Payne, Pocomoke High

*Grade 12, Short Story
First Place: Jake Rider, Stephen Decatur High
Second Place: Zoe Michelle Bradshaw, Mardela Middle & High
Third Place: No place winner awarded.