Three Cody students are headed to an October awards ceremony in Casper in honor of their writing skills and stories they submitted at the end of the school year.

One student from Sunset School and two from Cody Middle School were awarded first place for their grade at the state Young Authors contest.

From Sunset, Kaleb Hill, 9, won first place in fiction. His project was a long time in the making, having been almost ready for submission last year, but missing deadline.

The story he wound up submitting and winning with this year was about a team of young researchers who visit another planet to discover new creatures. The idea came from his enjoyment of pictures in wildlife magazines.

“I wanted to use my imagination to design the creatures,” he said.

Entrants in the Young Authors contest may do their own illustrations, a process that Hill particularly enjoyed. They may also illustrate their works with pictures from other sources.

Last year, Reagan Moss was a winner from the school. Her book about a gymnast competing in Paris won the top spot for fiction. Her latest story didn’t make it to state, but she said she is already prepping for next year.

Cody Middle School also produced a pair of state winners this year. Codi Gordon, a rising freshman, won nonfiction in her age group. Her story, “A Back Country Land of Oz,” detailed her first hunt while noting parallels with the classic children’s book, “The Wizard of Oz.”

She has competed since she was a first-grader and has won at state five times. She said she draws her stories from personal experiences, and is planning to write about her experience at state 4-H shooting for next year’s story.

Tiegan Blain, a sixth-grader, also netted a top spot with her nonfiction entry, “My Top Ten Favorite Pet Lizards.” 

As it worked out, Tiegan was preparing for a pet lizard as the young authors contest started. She elected to incorporate her research into a story. Her efforts were worth the time, netting her first win in the contest.

“I wanted to figure out what lizard would be the best pet,” she said. “I was already doing the research.”

Her conclusion at the end? The leopard gecko.

The Young Authors contest is facilitated by the Wyoming State Literacy Association.

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