The Country Day writing contest was created by Pepa Novell, Country Day’s middle school Spanish teacher and the founder and director of MAGMA publisher, a publishing company.
The competition was divided into three categories: high school (ninth to 11th), middle school and lower school (third to fifth grade).
Each category has its own word limit. Lower school has a word count of 300 words to 500 words. Middle school has a word count of 500 words to 1,000 words. High school has a word count of 1,000 words to 1,500 words.
Submissions were due on April 12.
A group of teachers will read the submissions anonymously and act as the jurors. They will select the first, second and third place in each category. The winners will be announced in May and will be featured on the school website.
“I will read all the papers, even though I don’t have a vote,” Novell said. Her children, Country Day students, are not participating in the contest, but she said that she wouldn’t vote because she would know whose story was whose.
Novell came up with the idea for the contest while thinking of a way to lift up the community after noticing a downcast atmosphere following the Thanksgiving break. She wanted to give the students a goal to motivate them, and thought of writing because of her experience with writing competitions.
“I know the rules more or less because I was involved in different creative writing contests in Europe. I took the rules that I knew and put them together for a school contest,” Novell said.
“There’s a lot of talent in the school,” Novell said. “I know some students are really good at writing.
“I keep encouraging students to write. If you like to write, keep writing.”