In fall 2019 when we embarked on our first NEHS Writing Challenge endeavor with a focus on poetry, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of submissions we received each month. If we were thrilled with the success of the Poetry Challenge, we were absolutely blown away by the popularity of the 2020-2021 Flash Fiction Challenge. Each month, Advisory Council members reviewed upwards of 100-150 wonderfully-written pieces that reflect the best traits of writing and creativity. Each month, the best flash fiction submissions were selected for publication; in the past few weeks, all members of the Advisory Council have re-read all of the monthly winners, seeking to select the best examples of student and Advisor submissions. We now proudly announce the Authors of the Year and invite you to learn more about them in the brief bio submissions below, then spend some time savoring the stories that have been selected. Each of the authors being recognized is receiving, in addition to having the stories published, a $30 gift card. When school resumes in a few months, regardless of its configuration, look for a new writing challenge to be announced!
Congratulations to all of these fine writers.
Student Authors of the Year
Olivia Adamic is currently a senior in high school at Joliet Catholic Academy (JCA). She participates in Newspaper Club and in 4188 Art & Literary Magazine at school and has recently won first place in the annual writing contest. When she is not writing, she enjoys several hobbies including maintaining a garden with her family, playing the piano, crocheting, and practicing tennis. In the future, she hopes to publish more of her work, graduate from college, and eventually live in a serene and sustainable cottage in the woods. She is a two year member of the JCA chapter of the National English Honor Society.
Rylie O’Neal is a senior attending Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio, TX. She is the second born out of four children. She has been a part of the National English Honor Society for 3 years. Her love of creative writing began in 6th grade. She used to write fictional short stories and poems growing up. She loves to write about her personal experiences growing up on a military base as well as being a part of a military family. She loves to read historical fiction and fiction novels. Her favorite author has always been J.K. Rowling.
Tara Ramesh is a junior who is a part of the Northview High School National English Honor Society chapter. Throughout her writing, she reflects on modern day injustices and disparities in order to spread more awareness of such topics and express her inner thoughts. Tara utilizes personal experiences and current events to relate to her audience and share a need for change. By writing short stories, she hopes to create a condensed, but effective message that may unify her audience. Within her writing, she tends to rely on anecdotes and analogies to develop her argument further as well as using conversational language to speak from her heart. Tara writes with the desire to make an impact on the world.
Yunhui Shim is a junior of Northview High School’s National English Honor Society chapter, who aspires to become an accomplished writer. She enjoys reading, public speaking, and painting. Her favorite subject is math, but she would like to incorporate the logic involved in writing, and comprehending passages to help further her knowledge in both areas. She aims to share her knowledge and experiences through the art of writing, and enjoys analyzing different texts that have been written by both contemporary and past writers. Her favorite book is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, as she became inspired by the astronomical impact that one individual can make in scientific communities, helping develop medicines for humanity. Today, Yunhui wishes to spread the joy reading, and the wisdom to come from it.
Sarah Goldberg’s interest in English started young, with her nature as a bookworm since kindergarten. She was a known bookworm in elementary school and her thirst for new stories only grew with time, shown in her continued recognition for academic excellence in English courses at American Heritage School in Plantation, FL. Much of her love of reading and writing stems from adventure books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and the works of Rick Riordan, the latter of which inspire Sarah to incorporate an engaging personality into her work to achieve her goal of opening more people to the many forms of literature. She also does this through her love of music and bullet journaling.
Amna Wajahat is a rising high school senior at Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School who enjoys reading non-fiction articles and learning about geography in her free time. She recently joined a journalism network of students across the nation who seek to debunk misinformation from news articles on social media. Amna aspires to pursue a career in either business or medicine, while instilling a passion for reading and writing. As a full-time high school student, Amna remains active in her community by volunteering with her local Mayor’s Youth Corps. Born and raised in Tampa, FL, Amna lives with her parents and older sister Leena.
Mikayla Moxley is a junior at Linganore High School in Frederick, MD. At Linganore, she is a member of the National Honors, National English Honor Society, and National Spanish Honor Society. Her love to write started when she was little, and allows her to be creative and get a new perspective on many ideas and concepts. She is inspired to write by all the things around her, so when she was listening to her brother explain a project he was doing in his history class about the children working in dangerous factories during Industrial Revolution, she got the idea to write this Drabble. She is inspired by her own life, similar to her favorite author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Read: “A Child’s Dream”
Eshita Jain is a senior and member of Northview High School’s chapter of National English Honor Society. Her love for literature started when she was young, and now she loves to read and journal in her free time. Her favorite book is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Recently she finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and The Color Purple by Alice Walker, both of which she enjoyed. She is inspired by her personal experiences and observations, which she drew on to write this flash fiction. In the future, Eshita hopes to live in a house with a huge library.
Mia Tan is a junior at Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA, and a first-year member of the Roscoe Brunner Mordica Godwin Chapter of the National English Honor Society. One of her earliest memories of writing is the dictionary she tried to remake when she was seven. After struggling to get past the first A page, she scrapped the project and moved on to short stories and poetry instead. She enjoys discussing and writing poems for Godwin’s Literary Magazine, and her favorite poet is Billy Collins because of the informality of his poems and his sense of humor. Some of her favorite authors include Jeannette Walls and John Green.
Read: “Treat Myself”
Writing is a domain that Tinde Koroma has always poured herself into when other things like math and science seemed to restrict her creativity. She is always jotting something down, whether it be an idea for a long piece or a random thought that she knows will make more sense when she writes it down. Absorbing a new piece of literature always revitalizes her, and she appreciates how much power words can have on people, and what power people have when they utilize the ability to write. It would be shocking if Tinde didn’t find a career in the literary world.
Read: “Broken Comb”
Chapter Advisor Authors of the Year
David Dill, when not managing NEHS or his high school classes, has a deep love of poetry and the nerd world at large. He is a published poet and avid reader of the genre, and he fabricates grand worlds and characters in Dungeons and Dragons with his remaining time. Having taught at the high school level for eight years, most recently at Lehigh Valley Academy, he often finds inspiration from the authors he is teaching when he is not reading other authors’ work. His favorite of all time is Charles Bukowski, who has most influenced his personal writing style in his own works.
Maria Fischer is in her third year as the Advisor for the Joliet Catholic Academy chapter of NEHS. She teaches juniors and seniors American Literature, AP Language and Composition, Creative Writing, and dual credit Education 101 in conjunction with the University of St. Francis. Her new NEHS members received socially distant gift bags with face masks, t-shirts designed by the returning members, and treats this year, rather than the typical induction ceremony. She recently won first place for both poetry and fiction in the Lewis University Windows magazine. She is currently reading Here for It by R. Eric Thomas.
Read: “Goodbye, Twitter”
Lori Hinkley is an English teacher at Tabb High School in Yorktown, VA. This is her thirteenth year of teaching, and because of all the maneuvering around Covid-19 obstacles, it has proven to be the most challenging so far. Nothing, however, can douse her love for writing and teaching her students about the many joys writing can bring. Lori began writing as a young child and often kept her notes, pontifications, ideas for stories, and lines of poetry in random notebooks, on loose slips of paper, and on her shoes when she was a teenager. Nothing much has changed except that she has traded writing on sneakers for her notes app.
It doesn’t take much more than six words to capture the feeling of teaching in person this year. At the same time, there just aren’t enough words. This is Andrea Rinard’s twenty-eighth year in the classroom, yet, she feels like a first-year teacher all over again. Through it all, she loves teaching and instilling a love for words in her students. As a writer, Rinard looks for those doorways into stories and waits for characters to lead her where they want her to go. Her work has been published in various literary journals, and her first novel, Afterworld, is currently being considered for publication. You can find her on Twitter @aprinard and on her website www.rinardwrites.com.
Joan Jackson is the Co-Chapter Advisor for the Wise High School Chapter in PG County Public Schools, MD. She has over 25 years of teaching experience at the public, independent, and collegiate levels. She is currently teaching English 12 and Dual Enrollment English Composition 1010 at Prince George’s Community College. As the advisor of a young chapter, she is hopeful the members of the chapter will continue to serve the Wise community and to grow in their love of English. Jackson has a passion for British literature, especially John Donne sonnets. All writing flows from one’s heart and the passion of the subject. Understanding the grammar and mechanics of writing allows more poetic freedom to break the rules.
Read: “Unassuming Gazers”