Creative Challenges

NEHS Writers of the Year

This year NEHS received more submissions to each round of the Writing Contest than ever before! The work published here represents the most creative, thought-provoking, and well-written submissions we received. It’s wonderful to know that the art of creative writing is definitely alive and well in our student members. Each of the Writers of the Year published here will receive a Better World Books gift card.

Student Authors of the Year

Eleanor Buchanan
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
Edgar Allan Poe Chapter
Western Albemarle High School, Crozet, VA

Eleanor Buchanan is a Junior at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, VA, where she is a member of the Edgar Allan Poe chapter of NEHS. She has been writing since before she knew what writing truly meant. As a child, she spent a lot of time in hospitals for various surgeries and had to find ways to entertain herself. Writing stepped into the free time she was unable to spend on the blacktop with the rest of her classmates and never left. A decade later, she’s become a voracious reader who loves any book involving fantasy, sci-fi, and (weirdly) fictional famous people. Some of her favorite authors are R.F. Kuang, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Tamsyn Muir, and V.E. Schwab. Her dream is to publish a novel one day.

Read: “Just a Number

Maggie Carrigan
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
Kingwood High School Chapter
Kingwood High School, Kingwood, TX

Maggie Carrigan is a senior at Kingwood High School in Kingwood, TX, and has been a member of National English Honor Society for two years. She’s also involved in Class Officers (where she serves as the Class Historian), Student Council Executives, Soccer, National Honors Society, and National Charity League. English has always been her favorite subject in school, and she loves reading. Next year, she plans to attend the University of Arkansas and study Communication Sciences and Disorders, in hopes of getting her masters in speech pathology.

Read: “A Letter to my Mom

Ellen Darcey
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
Veritas Chapter
St. Mary’s Dominican High School, New Orleans, LA

Ellen Darcey is a senior at St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, LA. She has been a member of the NEHS Veritas Chapter for two years. Ellen has always been drawn to English and reading, but it was not until she discovered her love of poetry that she began writing. In her free time, she often writes poems as a way to express and organize her thoughts. Ellen will be completing a creative writing course during this school year, which she hopes will elevate her writing skills. 

Read: “Birthday Flowers

Isabel George
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
Where The Wild Kids Are Chapter
Trumbull High School, Trumbull, CT

Isabel George is a senior at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, CT, and is part of the National English Honor Society. She has had a passion for writing since she was five years old. She would write stories based on Disney princesses and give them as gifts to her parents. This passion for writing came from her parents. They have always encouraged her to read as a child and to write. She continued this passion in high school by taking part in classes such as AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition to be able to read books in more detail and get a better understanding. Also, this allowed Isabel to develop her writing skills even further.

Read: “A New Confidence

Cadence Jackson
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
Veritas Chapter
St. Mary’s Dominican High School, New Orleans, LA

Cadence Jackson is a Senior at St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, LA, and a member of The Veritas Chapter of NEHS. Reading was an escape that soon turned into her desire to write her inner thoughts that could not be expressed as easily. Although writing has become a passion of hers, it was only recently she discovered its potential in her life. However, through the years, it has become a way to express complex and/or simple thoughts with meaning and a way to represent her passion and desires. She turns to everyday life, whether in history or her own life, to find inspiration for her writing and her favorite genres, including horror, fantasy, and macabre.

Read: “The Burden of Grief

Isaac Kaufman
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
Dunwoody High School Chapter
Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, GA

Isaac Kaufman is the youngest child of Meryl and Paul Kaufman. He has lived in Atlanta, GA, for his entire life and attends Dunwoody High School in Dunwoody, GA. He is captain of the wrestling team and maintains a GPA over 4.0. He plans to pursue Neuroscience in college and later attend medical school. Isaac has always had a passion for learning and loves the subjects of English, Science, and History. He also has a passion for athletics, competing at the varsity level in wrestling for all four years of high school. Additionally, he has practiced US Taido Karate for 11 years, earning a second-degree black belt and competing internationally in Japan.

Read: “Starving

Esther Ma
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
BHS National English Honor Society Chapter
Burlington High School, Burlington, MA

Esther Ma is a member of the National English Honor Society chapter at Burlington High School in Burlington, MA. Her love of writing started in the sixth grade when she ambitiously made plans to co-author and publish a novel with her best friend. Though that hasn’t happened, she still nurtures a love for reading and writing. Her favorite authors include Ocean Vuong, Donna Tartt, and Ling Ma, though her favorite books are constantly changing!

Read: “Fragile Femininity

Aniket Martins
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
Dead Poets II Chapter
Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Fairfield, CT

Aniket is a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT. He loves reading and writing and has won numerous awards in the Connecticut Writing Contest. He serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Tutoring for his school’s National English Honor Society. He is also passionate about debate, international relations and Model UN where he is the President of Fairfield Ludlowe’s Model UN Club and has won many delegate awards at various conferences.

Read: “Dear Mr. Roald Dahl

Rebecca Moore
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
Desert Vista English Honor Society Chapter
Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, AZ

Rebecca Moore is a senior at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ. She plans to major in physics and astronomy and minor in Spanish at the W.A. Franke Honors College at the University of Arizona next fall. Rebecca enjoys writing a variety of material, from research to narrative to poetry. A reader from a young age, many books have inspired Rebecca’s writing style. Some of her favorite authors include George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath, and Suzanne Collins. Rebecca enjoys the creativity the writing process allows her and plans to continue writing for the rest of her life.

Read: “Disobedient Daughter

Emma Reisch
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
Edgar Allan Poe Chapter
Western Albemarle High School, Crozet, VA

Emma Reisch is eighteen and a senior at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, VA. She plans on studying nursing in the fall in hopes of eventually becoming a nurse anesthetist. Emma has been a camp counselor at ACAC for the last two years. She is a part of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and Rho Kappa the National Social Studies Honor Society. She spends her Sunday mornings volunteering at Hopes Legacy Equine Rescue.

Read: “The Day the Hamster Fell Off the Wheel

Garret Stephenson
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
Tigris Chapter
Harris County High School, Hamilton, GA

Garret Stephenson is a junior attending Harris County High School in Hamilton, GA. This is his first year in the National English Honor Society being a part of the Tigris Chapter. Garret finds his love for writing through poetry because it can be simple but also contain much more meaning with the use of words to create feelings and meaning. His favorite authors are those who write poetry, such as Marilyn Nelson and Lesley Ingram, who use words in a way that many people can relate to. He wrote this six-word story after reading the poem “I Am Fading Away” by Joshua Fegley, which inspired him to write about the feelings of someone who feels that they are fading away.

Read: “Fading From Existence

Ameerah Wilson
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
AMS Writer’s Honors Society Chapter
Al-Mamoor School, Fresh Meadows, NY

As an older sibling, a writer, and an honors student, Ameerah Wilson has always been committed to her involvement in several communities. From a young age, her love for reading had grown into an infatuation, providing a sense of appreciation for reading and writing as an art. Having written children’s books as an entry-level writer, Ameerah has expanded her skills such that her newest artwork, a poetic collection, is in the works for publication. Aside from her hobbies and interests, Ameerah aspires to continue her education with a focus on science, as she hopes to pursue a career in psychology and forensic science soon. Ameerah attends Al-Mamoor School in Fresh Meadows, NY.

Read: “A Letter to an Anguished Soul

Chapter Advisor Authors of the Year

It is always a great pleasure for the NEHS Advisory Council and volunteer evaluator team to receive Writing Contest submissions from Chapter Advisors. The texts below represent the winning submissions to each of the three Writing Contests available this year and prove that our Chapter Advisors’ creative writing skills are unparalleled. All writers published here will receive a Better World Books gift card.

Michael Byrd
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
Notre Dame Academy Chapter
Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, KY

Michael Byrd is the Faculty Advisor for the Notre Dame Academy (Park Hills, KY) Chapter of NEHS. This is his first year leading an NEHS chapter. He’s most excited about reopening The Write Place, his school’s writing mentor lab. 

Read: “Grandma’s Advice

Erica del Riego
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
Saint Brendan High School Chapter
Saint Brendan High School, Miami, FL

A passionate professional educator with 12 years of experience, Erica is the Senior Honors English teacher at Saint Brendan High School in Miami, FL, and the chapter advisor for the National English Honor Society. She spearheads the school’s Oral History Project, which records the immigrant narratives of families in the South Florida community. Erica earned a BA in English Literature and Education and her MA in Journalism from the University of Miami. She earned her EdD in Education with a specialization in Reading Education from Nova Southeastern University. Her doctoral thesis focused on the effects of Digital Game-Based Learning on reading motivation, engagement, and comprehension in high school students, specifically in Hispanic communities. Erica is grateful to give back to the South Florida community, especially since she was born and raised in Miami.

Read: “To the Silent Gardener

MFischer-headMaria Fischer
October/November Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Six-Word Stories
December/January Flash Fiction Contest Winner: Letters
Joliet Catholic Academy English Honor Society Chapter
Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet, IL

Dr. Maria Fischer is the Chapter Advisor of the Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet, IL) chapter and proud English teacher of several honorable mention-winning students in the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest, as well as several winners of the Illinois Manningham Poetry Competition. She finds time to write herself thanks to an MFA program through Lindenwood University. 

Read: “Senior Year” and “Dear Horse Girl

Karen Perez
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
PrepaTec Querétaro Chapter
PrepaTec Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico

Karen Pérez is a learning experience designer, a broad-minded artist, and a committed agent of change. As the lifelong-learner teacher, she embraces cultures teaching English and Visual Arts. She is also an Empatico educator and ambassador who explores the globe in search of empathetic humanity. She is a big fan of Emily Dickinson’s words and enjoys tuning clay into art. She believes mistakes are actually little drops of concealed wisdom. Karen is the Chapter Advisor at PrepaTec Querétaro in Querétaro, Mexico.

Read: “The Revenge

J. Scott Shields
April Writing Contest Winner: Memoirs
NEHS Black Hawks Chapter
Williams Field High School, Gilbert, AZ

Long ago, J. Scott Shields left the arctic Midwest for the Sonoran desert where he has taught English for the past twenty-six years. Literature and music are his passions, and he strives to share his love of the written word each day with his 12th grade students and the members of the NEHS Black Hawks Chapter at Williams Field High School in Gilbert, AZ.

Read: “Family Portrait

More from NEHSXpress: June 21, 2023

New NEHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement
Happy LGBTQIA+ Pride Month!
Juneteenth Commemoration
Fall 2023 Coming Attractions