My English teacher had this bright idea that we should write an essay and submit it to the contest being judged by the Virgin Islands Daily News. What were they doing to me? I already had my trying something out of my comfort zone moment, now this? I didn’t tell this lady I wanted to be an author, what was she tripping on?
Well, this time I surprised myself (and them) again. Maybe there was something to this trying something different – after all.
Year: 2000 or 2001?
School: Charlotte Amalie High School
High School English Assignment / VI Daily News Essay Contest
It’s not like I hadn’t written before. I had notebooks of work that I had written over the years. The first entry was a song that I was writing with some friends in elementary school. Ever since then, I couldn’t put the book or pen down. Whenever I felt the urge or inspiration, I wrote and the words spilled easily across the pages as if they were destined to be there.
Now I was being asked to write on demand and then have it judged by people I didn’t know and if selected, published in the newspaper for further scrutiny. If I was someone who had emotional anxiety, this would’ve made me reach my boiling point.
The Clown Dat’s Gonna Get Ya’
So, off I went to writing a story about a clown that appeared only during the Carnival season. The theme for the contest was to write about something relating to the Virgin Islands or Carnival.
As usual, once I had the idea for my story, the words just flowed onto the paper. I imagined the Carnival jesters, one of the troops whose costumes I look forward to each year in the parade. Maybe it was the outfit or the anonymity of not knowing who were behind the masks.
The story grew into a mystery and by the end of it, it left you guessing what was real and what was contrived by the mischievous sibling. I loved reading stories like that, so coming up with one was not a very hard feat.
Once I was done, I set down my pen and transferred my story to the computer for printing and submission. I didn’t have it in my mind that I would win the contest, but I knew that I had a cool story on my hands that was about to be shared with my teacher and the contest judges.
A Published Author Was Born
So, THE DAY came and our class stories were turned in and sent off to the VI Daily News. After the assignment was complete, I hadn’t thought much about it until………….
I got a call one morning from someone at the Daily News who was coming to the school to take my picture.
What? Why? That wasn’t part of the deal. I didn’t read anywhere that they needed to take a picture of the students who submitted stories.
Silly me, didn’t even think that I had actually won the contest. But indeed, I had won the contest. Out of all the entries in the Virgin Islands, mines among others based on different age groups, was selected as the top story.
Another person who was in my class had also came in 2nd. My teacher among others thought that ‘he’ was the winner when it was announced that the winners came from our class. Well, that would teach them to count me out.
I had written a Carnival story about a clown and won $500. Then, my story was published in the Daily News for the rest of the Virgin Islands to read. So, I was officially a published author in high school and my author journey had only just begun………
Just full of surprises. What did you surprise yourself by accomplishing in school or life in general? Share your story in the comments.