Budding authors impress judges with short stories

St Teresa's
St Teresa's Principal David McInnes and budding authors Erika O'Brien and Leila Kenzler with Professor Gary Crew from USC

SHORT stories written by two Year 8 students at St Teresa's Catholic College, Noosaville, have taken first and third place at the “Telling Stories" Short Story Writing competition hosted by University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

The two budding authors were recognised at an awards ceremony, sponsored by the Mooloolaba Rotary Club.

The short story competition was part of the Voices on the Coast Youth literature festival and more than 70 schools contributed the best of their student stories from Years 4 – 9.

St Teresa's students Erika O'Brien and Leila Kenzler submitted their short stories in response to the topic: “I should have saved the tree.".

In front of a crowd of about 300 guests, Leila was awarded third place and Erika first place in the Year 8 category.

Erika also won the Gary Crew Trophy, when her story was selected by author, Professor Gary Crew, as the best story of the entire competition.

Gary, who is Professor of Creative Writing at USC, said he was blown away by the talent shown by the St Teresa's students.

Following the Gary Crew Trophy presentation, Principal, David McInnes was presented with the Best School award.

“It is a wonderful achievement by Erika and Leila, whose stories showed both a love of writing and a depth of maturity," Mr McInnes said.

St Teresa's Curriculum Development Leader – English, Christine Winderlich, said the two students were members of the STCCWrite club, a co-curricular club set up specifically for students who wanted to extend their writing skills.

“The club gives them the opportunity to develop the art of written expression through attempting different genres of writing," she said.

“We encourage any student who has an interest in writing to join."

She said the awards did not happen by accident and the entire English department at St Teresa's was celebrating the win.

“St Teresa's is a college where writing was valued, and students felt empowered to write knowing that their voices matter."

As for Erika and Leila, both students said they were thrilled to receive the awards, and both intended to continue expressing their voice through the art of the written word.

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