Meet the Spark a Story Winners: Part 3

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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.




Morgan is a poet and junior at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. She is a two-time finalist for Houston Youth Poet Laureate. When she’s not doing homework, she’s drinking coffee, playing soccer, or being inspired by her beautiful and strange friends and family. She enjoys comfortable silences, Mark Rothko, and collaborative playlists.




All Westbound Trains

Simon has always been interested in trying new activities and experiences. He is a member of the Herricks High School student government, treasurer of the garden club, as well as a member of the cross-country team. Currently, he is very interested in learning more about the technology that powers our world as well as taking an active role in his community. He is fascinated by how vast the world is and the infinite possibilities it contains, and his aspiration is to never stop learning and pursuing new ventures.




A Portrait of the Artist as a Teenage Girl

Aela is eighteen years old and a student at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois. In addition to writing, she enjoys playing the violin, editing her school’s literary magazine, and volunteering. She has won several local poetry contests and wrote a monologue that was featured in the Statue Stories Chicago Project. Aela’s future plans include studying creative writing and history in college.




The Cabin

Rushalee is currently a senior at Mission San Jose High School. She is an avid reader, and her favorite series include Harry Potter and the Shadowhunter Chronicles, but she is always looking for something new to read. She also loves performing and is currently applying to colleges as a musical theater major. She hopes to continue writing throughout her life and is always excited to start working on something new.




Etiam Doloris

Joshua has had a great fascination with audiobooks and has listened to hundreds of books. He started writing seriously in high school and has written a few dozen short stories. While he believes much of his early work is not very good, even the bad work he has written has taught him something not to do next time. He also enjoys camping and has hiked nearly six hundred miles. He is currently a senior and is looking to pursue a degree in creative writing and earn his teaching credentials in college. He hopes to spend a few years as a high school English teacher and maybe write full time one day.

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