Howard County Names Three Wilde Cats Young Authors Contest Champions


12th grade short story winner, Sydney Cox brainstorming while writing her literary piece.

“The scent grew stronger and the silhouette grew clearer as she walked further and further into the tranquil depths. The pull from the water and the force on her back gave her every reason to fall into oblivion, but her motivation to see the silhouette up close, to know if it was them, kept her afloat.” 

This is an excerpt from Backpack of Boulders, a short story written by Wilde Lake senior Sydney Cox for the Young Authors Contest. Her submission earned her a first place award for the short story category. 

Students from grades 1-12 are encouraged by their teachers to submit either a short story or poetry piece to the Young Authors Contest in Howard County each year. At the county level of this contest, judges handpick a first and second place winner for each category and grade level. These winners then go on to compete at state and national levels.

Alongside Sydney Cox are two other Wildecats who received the first place title. Fellow senior Shoshi Hornum won in poetry, and junior Noah Steele won in short stories for the eleventh grade. 

All three winners are a part of the Lake’s Quill and Scroll, led by seniors Sydney Cox and Sarah Rubin. This English honor society allows students to work together and apply their writing skills in order to create Wilde Lake’s literary magazine, Pens and Pages. The young writers’ interest in the contest was sparked at one of the Quill and Scroll meetings.

Noah was looking forward to submitting a piece for the contest, but he didn’t submit his writing with the goal of winning. “I honestly entered because it seemed fun,” says Noah. “I had wanted to get more into writing, and this seemed like a great way to do so.”

Shoshi has always had a love for writing. Entering the contest was an outlet for her to curate a story surrounding her love of nature. Not only was she interested in sharing her love of writing with a wider audience, but she also was thrilled to be able to represent Wilde Lake. She says, “I was extremely thankful that I won. I love reading and writing, so it’s exciting to have the opportunity to share my writing with more people.”

The Young Authors Contest has been around since 1961, and each year it inspires students to be proud of their hard work, encouraging them to share their words with others. Sydney says, “Winning the contest in fourth grade and then once again this year reminded me of how amazing it felt to be rewarded for my love of writing.”