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District selects 2022-2023 Young Authors Winners

Photo of Young Authors District RepresentativeGretchen Sebastian spent two years carefully crafting “Are You Ready for it?” — the  tale of a Jewish teenager escaping Germany while trying to rescue her sister. 

“No one should have to go through something like that just because they believe in something that you don’t believe in,” she said.

The Prairiewood Elementary School 5th-grader said she was inspired while learning about World War II and the Holocaust in school. She watched several documentaries and checked the details of her manuscript  with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum encyclopedia and other sources, along with frequent check-ins with her teachers.

Gretchen’s persistence paid off when she was selected along with nine other Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 students as winners of the Young Authors contest.

Kristen Sauber, a District 200 instructional coach, said more than 50 manuscripts were submitted this school year, which were judged by instructional staff, a few retired teachers and Woodstock Independent Editor Larry Lough.

“The committee was excited to see the number of participants this year. There were so many talented writers who found unique and creative ways to tell their stories,” Sauber said.

Submissions ranged from personal narratives and historical fiction to graphic novels and non-fiction and poetry collections, among other genres.

Other winners in District 200’s Young Authors contest were as follows:

Mary Bonham, Greenwood Elementary School, Grade 4
The Mysterious Locked Box 

Declan Di Guido, Westwood Elementary School, Grade 3
D-Day, A GI Joe Tale

Sebastian Garcia, Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center, Kindergarten
Super Zoom Makes a World of Kindness

Charles Martinez, Creekside Middle School, Grade 8S
My Story….Collection of Poetry           

Adeline Morson, Olson Elementary School, Grade 5
Thomas Smith and the Great Ball

Kayla Quarrie, Clay Academy, Grade 2 
Kayla and the Sugarbug

Mackenzie Schnulle, Northwood Middle School, Grade 8
A Trip Through My Brain 

Gretchen Sebastian, Prairiewood Elementary School, Grade 5
Are You Ready for It?

Carsen Unruh, Dean Street Elementary School, Grade 3
The Lonely Wolf

Leilana Watson, Mary Endres Elementary School, Grade 1
Lola Becomes an Astronaut