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Lightburn receives Judges Choice Award at creative writing festival

New Richmond High School recently sent 27 students to the UW-Whitewater Creative Writing Festival and had five students finish in the top three. Submitted photo

New Richmond High School recently sent 27 students to the UW-Whitewater Creative Writing Festival and had five students finish in the top three, along with a Judges Choice Award winner in senior Gabrielle Lightburn.

"My project was a Japanese styled comic (manga). When I handed it in I thought I did pretty well and I was proud of myself that I finished. But, after I started looking through it again I saw many mistakes that I wish I could change. It was really bothering me so I wasn't as excited or thrilled when I had to present my project," Lightburn said. "Saying I was excited (to take first place) is an overstatement. I was really happy though, because I was recognized for something I actually take pride in. I've never won anything before so that also made it a lot more special to me."

Whitewater award winners included:

• Tayven George - first place in song lyrics.

• Cooper Scribner - second place in prose poem and flash fiction.

• Maisie Goodman - second place in expository essay.

• Cole Effertz - third place in multimedia.

• Gabrielle Lightburn - first place in multimedia and first overall as Judges Choice Award

This is the first year Lightburn has taken part in the Whitewater competition; she was hesitant about going to the competition at all.

"I take pride in my artwork, but I never thought it would be thought so highly of. I do know there were many talented students there and I really don't think I deserve the award. Nonetheless, I do appreciate the award," Lightburn said. "Going home and showing my mom was the first thing I wanted to do. I was so happy and excited. My mom had convinced me to go to Whitewater which is another reason why I wanted to show her.

"It means a lot to me to get my mother's approval due to my big family and the constant thought that I'm just child number four out of seven. I wanted her to be proud of me."

According to NRHS English teacher Deena Zauft, Lightburn is the first NRHS student to win the Judges Choice Award. The competition generally receives 750 entries and only selects one winner.

"I feel happy but also slightly guilty because I know my peers worked just as hard and had just as much (if not more) talent. Especially some of the guys from my creative writing class. Their poems and short stories are beyond wonderful," Lightburn said. "Overall I think it was a good learning experience that can teach people how to take and give criticism."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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