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ELMWOOD – Authors from across the United States received awards for their short stories Saturday night during a spring banquet in Elmwood.

Members of the Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation honored winners of the 2019 Bess Streeter Aldrich Short Story Contest. Recognition took place during the organization’s annual banquet at the Bess Streeter Aldrich House.

Foundation members asked children and adults to generate fictional short stories in a style similar to the writings of Aldrich. They encouraged writers to incorporate a theme that focused on Nebraska’s family life, economy, history, geography and cultural diversity. They also asked authors to focus on either historical or realistic topics.

Foundation members recommended contestants read the famous Aldrich book “Mother Mason” and use it as a potential resource for the 2019 competition. The foundation is paying tribute to the book this calendar year.

Contest organizers created four divisions for the award: intermediate school, middle school, high school and adult. Judges then scored each submitted story based on the writer’s effective use of a theme and six overall traits of writing. Stories in the middle school, high school and adult levels had to be between 1,000-2,000 words. There was no minimum word requirement for the intermediate school category.

Judges selected three prizewinners and an honorable mention recipient for each division. Two Cass County residents were among the winners. Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School student Hannah Petersen earned third place in the intermediate school category. Fellow E-M student Rylie Gordon earned honorable mention in the same level.

Winners in the intermediate school category received cash prizes of $25 for first place, $15 for second place and $10 for third place. The top three winners in the middle and high school divisions received cash prizes of $50, $25 and $15. Adult winners received $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.

2019 Bess Streeter Aldrich Short Story Contest Results

Intermediate School Level (Grades 3-5)

1) Jacob Morrison, Upchurch Elementary School, Omaha

2) Zan Harner, Sheridan Elementary School, Lincoln

3) Hannah Petersen, Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School, Elmwood

Honorable Mention: Rylie Gordon, Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School, Elmwood

Middle School Level (Grades 6-8)

1) Vaishvika Balamurugan, Pound Middle School, Lincoln

2) Dailee Guthrie, Homeschool student, Lincoln

3) Maren Michelle Steinke, Irving Middle School, Lincoln

Honorable Mention: Kaylee Garrison, Milford Elementary School, Milford, Nebraska

High School Level (Grades 9-12)

1) Penny Duran, Willy Brandt Schule Home School, Houston, Texas

2) Cai Zylstra, Homeschool student, Lincoln

3) Emily Manley, Seward High School, Seward, Nebraska

Honorable Mention: Bailey Mooney, Seward High School, Seward, Nebraska

Adult Level

1) Ruffin Stirling – Elkhorn

2) Kim Wilch – Fremont

3) Phyllis Buell – Lincoln

Honorable Mention: Susan Bristol – Omaha

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