Ninth Annual Narrative High School Writing Contest Winners

Narrative High School Writing Contest. My Note to the World. A keyboard on a desk at sunrise, a pair of hands hovering above the keys.

We are eager to share with you the winners and finalists of the Ninth Annual Narrative High School Writing Contest. This year Narrative welcomed free submissions of stories, letters, and poems from our global community of high school students, who responded to the prompt My Note to the World.

Contributing teachers and students in the Narrative contest cover the world: in recent years, we have received submissions from forty-one countries, including Ghana, Malaysia, Ukraine, Nepal, China, South Africa, Taiwan, Russia, and the Philippines. Within the United States, we received poems from students in forty-nine states—a virtual world of young poets! In all, our Narrative for Schools programs reach more than 120,000 students and teachers in schools worldwide. This year, Narrative will award more than $2,000 in prizes to the winning authors and their schools.

Submissions to this year’s contest were read and carefully considered by our editorial staff, with winners and finalists selected by our cofounder and editor Carol Edgarian and guest judge, environmental activist and longtime Narrative author Rick Bass. Bass and Edgarian met one-on-one with the winners to edit their work and offer advice prior to publication.

Of the first-place poem “Why I Have Decided to Live,” written by Kyo Lee, Bass remarked, “We’re leaning in from the title, hoping this will be both guidebook and anthem for navigating our current crises, and we are not disappointed. There is an honesty, purity, and vulnerability here that is rare, and for that, valuable. This is the poem I will most share this year with any fellow traveler, whether brave, courageous, nervous, or plain terrified.”

Of his experience judging the contest, Bass further remarked, “Our request was daunting. We asked these talented young writers to tell us what their world is like. And further: to help lead, with solutions. Anyone can point a finger. Finding the creativity, imagination, and resolve to help make a bad situation better is a moral choice.”

The winners of the Ninth Annual Narrative High School Writing Contest:


Laurel Heights Secondary School (Waterloo, Ontario)


George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology (Baltimore, Maryland)


Marriotts Ridge High School (Ellicott City, Maryland)

Interlochen Arts Academy (Traverse City, Michigan)

Crofton House School (Vancouver, British Columbia)


Anna Isabella Fratarcangelo, “To Enkindle Turtledove Warhawks,” Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology (Petersburg, VA)
Eva Gu, “The River,” Valley Christian High School (San Jose, CA)
Dessa Kuritz, “How to Practice Immortality,” Francis Parker School (San Diego, CA)
Claire Meng, “Qingdao Summers in My Old Body,” Inglemoor High School (Bothell, WA)
Jenna Nesky, “Ninth Grade,” George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology (Baltimore, MD)
Tiarri Washington, “My Note to the World,” Ruth Asawa San Francisco High School of the Arts (San Francisco, CA)
Sophia Zhang, “Offerings,” Evergreen Valley High School (San Jose, CA)

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A short video about the Narrative High School Writing Contest:

And Don’t Miss:

Writing Video Tutorials with Cofounder Carol Edgarian.

Learn more about how we’re supporting teachers and students through the Narrative for Schools Program.

The Eighth Annual Narrative High School Writing Contest. Last year students responded to the prompt True or False?