top of page

Writing contest winners honored at ceremony featuring local writers

(From left) Jessica Jen, Preslee Gerber, Sophie Chamblin, Ashley Sutherland, and Erika Robledo were honored for being the first place winners for this year’s literary magazine Blooming submission contest. Photo by Isabela Walrod

Blooming is AHS’s 2019 literary magazine, a collection of original writing and illustrations by Atascadero High students that has been compiled into digital and print books. The talented students who contributed to this year’s magazine were honored on May 14 in the library, where they got to see the finished product.

The contest asked for submissions in several categories: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, personal narrative and song lyrics. A panel of student judges and staff members selected this year’s winners, then submitted their works to student artists, who created original illustrations for the book. Mr. Bradley compiled the illustrations and writing into a digital book available for download, and also had some print copies made.

Local authors Erik and Josh Ernstrom were guests at the celebration. They spoke to the students in attendance, emphasizing on the importance of writing. “You need other input in order to make your stories better, having someone read your work and share their opinions. One of the coolest things is when you receive that feedback and apply it to your storyline or illustrations,” Erik Ernstrom said.

Dr. Libby Madding, Assistant Principal of Curriculum, announced the winners of each category in the contest. The first place winners of each category included Jessica Jen for creative non-fiction, Erika Robledo for personal narrative, Preslee Gerber for poetry, Ashley Sutherland for short fiction and Sophie Chamblin for song lyrics. Winners could select their awards from arrays of leather-bound journals and other prizes. The section artists honored were Kaylah Ospina for cover art, Alondra Chavez for creative nonfiction, Alyssa Walters for personal narrative, Mel Webb for poetry, JayCee McEntire for short fiction and Lauren Briley for song lyrics.

When organizing this contest, Ms. Bell, District Librarian and Creative Writing teacher at AHS, said, “Others involved such as Dr. Libby, Ms. Hogan, Mr. Bradley, Ms. Harback, and Ms. Steyer helped create this event. I also oversee the Student Review Panel. We start at the beginning of the year planning. The Student Review Panel decides on the categories and creates advertising to encourage students to submit their writing.” Ms. Bell also talked about the process of choosing the winners for each section. “The Student Review Panel reads all of the entries and rates them based on a rubric,” she said. “Once the scores are tabulated, they move on to the adult judges and are scored once again. After the top winners in each category are determined, the pieces are given to the art teachers, who encourage their students to participate. They can choose a piece of writing that ‘speaks to them and then use their unique vision to illustrate it.” Bell concluded by discussing the benefits of participating in the literary magazine project: “Yes, students are involved in all pieces of this project from start to finish. For the students on the Review Panel, they learn project management skills and collaboration. For students who submit, they have an opportunity to be published.”

Anyone wanting to view AHS’s digital anthology, Blooming may go to or on to download a copy. Paper versions of the project are available to view at the library.

Join our mailing list

Never miss an update

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

Follow us on

Facebook and


Check out our 



Photos only, issues not included

bottom of page