Meet the Spark a Story Winners: Part 1

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This week we announced the winners of the first-ever Spark a Story writing contest, a short story competition created to find and encourage the nation’s best high school writing. Following the call for submissions from students across the country, HMH editors carefully selected the top twenty stories based on their creativity, originality and overall quality of writing, and published them in an anthology titled Spark a Story: Twenty Short Stories by American Teens.

In this four-post series, we will be highlighting this next generation of American writers and storytellers.



A Sixth Sense

Tal is a ninth-grade student at Miami Beach Senior High and lives at home with her family of seven. She enjoys the arts but hasn’t really considered herself a writer so much as a singer (so much that she has her own band). She wrote this short story with her stepsister Ella Rabino, who she claims is the only thing — along with the dogs — keeping her sane in a house so full of people.




Undoing Reality

Kayla is seventeen years old, and she has been writing as long as she can remember. She’s an award-winning artist who fell in love with theater, music, and artistic design. She plans to attend Webster University in St. Louis to pursue video game design or acting.




The Gene

Jaryn is from Phoenix, Arizona, and is a student at Sandra Day O’Connor High School. She enjoys reading, writing, and drawing. She loves spending time with friends and family and seeing the world’s sights and cultures. Jaryn participates in theater and writing club at school. In the future she hopes to pursue her dreams of becoming an author or a physical therapist for animals.




Silent Words

Niki is passionate about books, literature, philosophy, language, and art. Since fourth grade, she has been in love with reading and writing, which seem like magical tools to create and travel to new worlds. Her favorite things to write are short stories and poetry. Niki also enjoy arts and crafts, including bookbinding and calligraphy. In the future, she hopes to start a business or become an English teacher. Her dream is to continue writing throughout life to inspire people to follow their dreams.




The Sickle

Carlo is a junior at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois. Surprising circumstances brought him to the United States; he used to wake up in a small village in southern Italy. This is why his stories always take an unexpected turn. He loves to create his own music, has a passion for cooking, and cannot stop playing soccer. “The Sickle” is his first published story.

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