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A Call to Pens 2012-2013 Results


2012-2013 Results

Patrick Henry College is pleased to announce the winners of its 2012-2013 short story competition, A Call to Pens. In the 12 to 15-year-old division, young writers created stories based on the theme of harvest, or reaping the reward. Writers 16 to 18 years old produced tales on the theme of finding beauty in brokenness, or life through death.

Out of nearly 100 entries, a few stories stood out. The first-division winner, Sheila Roberts, wrote “I Want to Sing in Paradise,” a story set in a fantasy world, in which the agent of an evil power rebels against his master. In the second-division winning story, “Birth Pains,” author Lucy Alessio wrote from the point of view of a cursed man who ultimately saves the life of the one who cursed him, but at great cost to himself.

In “Apples,” the second-place winner of the first division, author Hailey Hatter writes of a boy remembering his grandfather, who has just died. Third-place winner Jared Berntson in “The Best Rewards” tells a hilarious tale of a pirate whose crew unearths a rather unusual sort of treasure—jars of honey—which brings unforeseen but amusing consequences. Michelle Chin’s fourth-place story, “Twisted Right,” tells of a teenage girl who learns to bear the consequences for her actions but to overcome them as well.

In the 16 to 18-year-old division, Abigail Hartman’s second-place story, “Unless a Seed,” features an oak tree who learns to accept that her acorns will produce new trees. A young man sacrifices part of himself to bring light back to his people in “The Light,” written by Jordan Cox. Madison Shoemake wrote “Know Where I’m Goin’” which chronicles how a young gang member comes to salvation through a street preacher. Winners will receive cash prizes for their stories.

Volunteer judges from PHC’s upperclassmen with creative writing experience viewed entries anonymously and voted on their favorites through different rounds. Junior Literature major and creative writer Hannah Walker managed the Call to Pens writing contest this year. The contest was founded in 2008 by Peter Forbes (Literature, ’09).

Congratulations to all the winners, and our sincere thanks to all who participated! Be sure to check back in the fall for our next competition.

First Division

First Place
“I Want to Sing in Paradise”
Sheila Roberts

Second Place
Hailey Hatter

Third Place
The Best Rewards
Jared Berntson

Honorable Mention:
Twisted Right
Michelle Chin

Second Division

First Place
Birth Pains
Lucy Alessio

Second Place
“Unless a Seed”
Abigail Hartman

Third Place
“The Light”
Jordan Cox

Honorable Mention:
Know Where I'm Goin'
Madison Shoemake


Please contact shortstory@phc.edu if you have any questions.

Back to the main Call to Pens contest page.


Once you submit your manuscript, Patrick Henry College has the right to publish all or part of it. The college is not responsible for any manuscripts that have been lost, damaged, misdirected, etc. Entrants must be U.S. citizens and must agree to abide by the rules and accept the judges’ decisions. All profits from the contest will be given to PHC’s Annual Scholarship Fund.