Towards the end of my junior year in high school there was a writing competition at one of the local community colleges. My American Literature teacher, Mrs. Russell encouraged me to submit a piece. Normally I would have submitted one of my fiction stories, but Mrs. Russell thought this essay I had written for a recent assignment would be a better choice. Due to the deadline for submissions I didn’t really get a chance to edit it and I knew there were a few mistakes, but I sent it off as it was. I went to the competition not really expecting to win anything. I was most looking forward to the different workshops. At the one fiction workshop we ran out of time before I could talk about my piece, but the leader assured me it was okay that they would be hearing me about me later. It was an odd comment. I can still recall it. I went to my lunch break trying not to read too much into it, trying not to be too hopeful. The time until the awards ceremony seemed to drag on and on and on. Finally it was the non-fiction category. Instead of going in reverse order, they started with first place. I sat there hoping that I could at least get an honorable mention. They read the name for first place and my heart stopped for a second. I tried to process the information. Had I really just heard my name called as the first place winner? My classmates beside me urged me to go accept my award. I was in a daze the entire way to the stage. It was a surreal moment. I couldn’t believe I won! As a first place winner I received a $100 savings bond. I was on cloud nine! I couldn’t wait to get back to school to tell my parents. For the first time I felt that my dream of being a writer wasn’t far fetched, that out there someone liked my writing. It helped to boost my confidence in my writing and to renew my passion for writing. It’s funny to look back on that moment because I can recall everything about that experience, except what the piece was actually about.
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