Lake Writers announced the winners of the 2011 student writing contest. Students were asked to use their imagination and write a short story set near Smith Mountain Lake. More than thirty students submitted romances, science fiction, fantasy and literary realism.
First place in the high school category goes to Anna Honea in twelfth grade at Westover Christian Academy for her story called “Courage.” This story is magical realism, where a shy girl goes to church camp, is offered a parrot to hold, and lets her imagination take off.
Second place goes to Abigail Shepherd in twelfth grade at Franklin County High School for her story, “I Believe in Yesterday.” The story is about a dysfunctional family that tries to have a happy Thanksgiving dinner, in spite of the fact that the patriarch suffers for dementia. “There was no real inspiration [for the story],” says Abigail. “One day the opening line came to me, and I ran with it.”
Third place goes to Kelly Van Cleve, ninth grade at Gretna High School, for “Life,” a romance where a girl realizes her boyfriend is playing her against her best friend. The two girls confront the boy, which causes a series of unintended consequences, including a traffic accident where the boy is injured and the sudden death of the girl’s grandmother. “The idea came from my Nana passing away,” says Kelly. “She was close to me, and I just let my emotions [flow] into the story.”
Abigail Shepherd Kelly Van Cleve
The middle school winner is Claire Mitzel, eighth grade at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. In “Across an Ocean and Still in Pain,” Claire imagines what it was like to be a man in the army in Vietnam. “I like to write historical fiction,” says Claire. “I thought the lake would be a great way for my character to try and recuperate from his wounds. All wars do damage on people, mentally and physically.”
Second place goes to Nathan Honea for “Coincidence? (I think Not)” This is the second time two members of a family have won in the middle and high school categories. Nathan’s story is a fanciful detective tale.
Third place goes to Amanda Fike, eighth grade at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, for “The Life of the Lake.” In this fantasy, Amanda imagines a perfect “new” Smith Mountain Lake. Two children decide to visit the “old” Smith Mountain Lake and discovered how much fun “real” nature can be.