Ashlynn Perez, a senior at Francis Howell North, took home two first place honors in the 2021 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest for the Missouri region.
Winners were selected from hundreds of submissions received throughout Missouri and the Kansas City, Kansas area. Winning pieces will be published in Missouri Youth Write, an online publication which will be available in June 2021. First place, or Gold Key, winners like Perez move on to the national level.
“Ashlynn is a brilliant writer,” Jani Wilkens, Francis Howell North English teacher, said. “She’s been working diligently putting together multiple creative writing pieces to submit. In the many years I have tapped students to work and submit to this contest, we have only ever had a small number make it to the national level.”
Perez received the Gold Key – Poetry To Abraham for her piece “In Heaven” and the Gold Key – Personal Essay & Memoir for her work “The Quiet One.” She also received two Silver Keys in the Personal Essay & Memoir category, as well as a Silver Key – Writing Portfolio for “Everyday Holiness.” Perez also received an Honorable Mention in the Poetry and Personal Essay and Memoir categories.
“Getting two Gold Keys for my writing is such a huge honor,” Perez said. “Writing has been a closely-held hobby and passion of mine since I was in elementary school, so it was such a privilege to get to compete. It’s even more of a privilege that my writing was chosen as a winner. The award filled me with a lot of confidence and a lot of gratitude.”
Her winning writing pieces will advance to the national level, where Perez is eligible for scholarships of up to $10,000. Winners will be notified mid-March.