POINT PLEASANT — Point Pleasant Borough High School senior Heather Roselle has earned first place in the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English [NJCTE] High School Writing Contest with her piece, “There is Promise of Light Even in Darkness.”
“I was totally surprised. I really wasn’t expecting that win at all, so I am obviously very excited and happy to hear that was the outcome,” she told The Ocean Star.
“Generally I don’t tend to write for prizes or for the title or anything like that. I just write because I like the prompt and I just feel like I have something interesting to offer to the judges, so I was really excited to hear that I had been named the winner. That is really cool.”
According to the NJCTE website, the primary goal of the contest is to encourage students to write independently and well in response to a challenge outside of the classroom. They focus on guiding students to discover their voice as they draft and submit poetry, short stories and personal essays.
Heather has been invited to a virtual award ceremony and will be recognized on the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education website.
“What I wrote, it was more than anything … a stream of consciousness and things that I am passionate about. A lot of them surrounded the topic of police brutality and everything that happened last summer and also my experiences working with the diversity council at my high school,” Heather said.
“We started the diversity council at the beginning of this year and basically we just aim to increase access to educational resources for students of Point Pleasant Borough High School and beyond, and so I … wrote about that and how important I think it was to the Point Pleasant Borough community and just to the students in the school in general.”
According to Heather, writing is something she has been interested in since she was a little girl and said her passion for it has been developed throughout her time in the Point Pleasant School District.
“I remember I would write these little short stories for my mom and … I just remember feeling so proud that I had produced something tangible for other people to read, so that was probably the first time I remember writing,” she said.
“In terms of writing, I really got more into it when I was in eighth grade and I was in Ms. [Lynn] Thompson’s class at Memorial Middle School. She just put so much faith in me and a lot of students that we could do some really incredible things if we put our minds to it. She was constantly offering us writing opportunities and just ways to get our name out there and that was probably where I gained confidence in my writing … but it definitely was the start of how I got into writing in high school.”
Her honor from the NJCTE is the second time this year Heather has been recognized for her writing. Earlier this year, she was named one of 15 finalists in the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream’s “I, Too, Am the Dream” national writing contest. The contest sought to engage high school seniors in describing dynamic stories that have pushed themselves and others into achieving their own American Dream.
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