The review panel is looking for student submissions for the annual Atascadero High School Writing Contest. Winners of the contest will have their work published in AHS’s 2019-2020 Literary Magazine. Students who are interested in submitting their work to the contest must first fill out a submission form that can be found on the AHS website homepage. If any student is interested in the writing contest they can contact Ms. Bell, the AUSD District Librarian, or English teacher Ms. Hogan. The final day for submissions for the contest is before midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 18. All submissions must be original work that has not been previously published, and must be no longer than 1,500 words.
There are several categories for submissions, including fiction, poetry, personal narrative, creative nonfiction and short fiction. A special category has been added this year for any kind of literature inspired by the theme, “Identity.” Ms. Kris Bell, the AUSD district librarian, said that she helped choose the theme of identity because, “Identity can mean many different things: self, group, mistaken, secret. It is purposely specific and vague at the same time, allowing students to have some autonomy over how they interpret it.” Students in need of inspiration may look to the Student Review Panel’s selection of writing prompts on the website. The Student Review Panel is made of AHS students who decide the categories each year based on what they feel would be an interesting concept.
Submissions are scored through multiple phases of judging. First, each submission is scored by the Student Review Panel. Teacher editors then review those scores and send the top scoring entries on to the next level of scoring by the Editorial Board, which is made up of AHS and school district staff and administration, School Board members, and community members. Finally, teacher editors review scores given by the Editorial Board, to determine the first, second, third, and honorable mention awards for the categories. Plot, setting, characters, creativity, grammar, and mechanics are some of the categories used to score each submission. Rubrics are also used to judge how well each submission fulfilled the requirements. Ms. Bell said, “I love seeing all the creativity that our students show through their entries. I also love working with the Student Review Panel to organize the contest. We (the teacher committee) work really hard to have the contest be as student run as possible.”
Winners of the contest will be awarded prizes, and their entries will be submitted to the AHS Art Department for art students to illustrate before being assembled into the Literary Magazine, a digital book that will be published and available on the iTunes bookstore. Contest winners are later invited to attend the Literary Magazine reception during Study Hall on May 20, which will include refreshments and the appearance of the guest author.