Abigail Douglas was a little surprised when her language arts teacher popped into her math class and told her she needed to see the principal after school. Knowing she hadn’t done anything wrong, she wasn’t nervous, but she did become a little suspicious when her mother showed up, too.
It turned out that Greenwood Elementary Principal Darik Williams just wanted to share some good news with Douglas, her teachers and her family: Douglas had won first place in the annual Colorado Young Writers’ Award contest, sponsored by the Colorado Council of the International Reading Association (CCIRA). Douglas’ short story, “Night Music,” was selected from entries submitted in the fifth- and sixth-grade writers’ category.
“I was pretty excited,” said Douglas, who is a fifth-grader at Greenwood. “I thought it was a cool thing to happen. It doesn’t happen to too many people.”
In fact, only 15 students statewide were so honored. The Colorado Young Writers’ Awards are given to Colorado students in first through twelfth grades who show exemplary skills as an author through short stories with rich content, ideas, organization and word choice. A first-, second- and third-place winner is selected in five grade-level categories.
Douglas, who has always loved to write, said she wanted her contest submission to be a “heartwarming” story the judges would like.
“’Night Music’ is about a person who goes out at night and listens to the sounds of nature,” Douglas said.
Her biggest challenge was meeting the 600-word limit, since she tends to write longer stories. In fact, she has already started crafting her first novel.
As a winner of the Young Writers’ Award, Douglas was honored at the CCIRA State Conference, held Feb. 4 in Denver. She got to attend the CCIRA Young Writers’ Author to Author Awards session and meet award-winning children’s author Kate Messner.
CCIRA is a professional organization of educators and community members dedicated to the promotion and advancement of literacy. CCIRA members encourage lifelong literacy habits and promote an appreciation of the value of reading and writing. One of CCIRA’s goals is to recognize and honor achievements in literacy.
Douglas plans to continue writing, but has other interests that may influence her college and career choices.
“I really like math,” Douglas said. “Right now I want to get a math degree and maybe minor in English. But I want to be a published author, too.”