CES 4th-grader competes at state level of YGA writing competition

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Cartersville Elementary School could have a state champion in its midst. 

Ellisa MacDonald has been named the fourth-grade winner at the Northwest Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency level of the Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition for 2018-19.

Her short story, “Hercules’ Story,” has now moved on to the state level, where she will compete for the honor of being the best fourth-grade writer in Georgia.

The contest, sponsored by the Georgia Language Arts Supervisors and the Georgia RESA Network, encourages public school students in grades K-12 to develop enthusiasm for and expertise in their writing while providing a context to celebrate their writing successes and recognizing student achievement in arts and academics.

Students could choose whatever topic they wanted in any genre — short stories, poetry, essays/literary criticism/analysis, journalism, academic/research reports, personal narratives or any other original work — for their entry, which had a 1,900-word limit.   

State winners will be announced on the Georgia Department of Education's website, probably in early May.

“I hope [making it to state] inspires other girls to achieve goals they might think are out of reach,” Ellisa said. 

Fourth-grade teacher Megan Hugo said she is “extremely proud of Ellisa.”

“She enjoys writing and is a very dedicated student,” she said. “Her stories are always interesting, and I love how interested she is in writing.” 

Ellisa, daughter of Elizabeth MacDonald and Bryan MacDonald, said her story is about “my 2-year-old puppy, his difficult life in a shelter and his struggle to get a forever home.”

“When we adopted my dog at Christmas, I immediately started thinking about his story and this year’s competition,” she said, noting she won at the district level last year as well as a third-grader. 

Hugo called Ellisa’s story “very powerful.”

“Her words are captivating, to the point that it makes me want to go to a shelter to rescue a dog,” she said.  

Ellisa’s mom said she “couldn’t be prouder” of her 9-year-old daughter. 

“Ellisa captured the point of view of a shelter dog perfectly,” she said. “I think she wrote a great story.” 

The young writer, who has lived in Cartersville her whole life, also was happy with her piece.

“My story turned out better than I imagined,” she said. “I’ve brainstormed the idea since Christmas. I started putting it on paper the week of the competition.” 

Hugo added the contest entries weren’t a class assignment. 

“I announced the competition to my class, and students who wanted to participate wrote their story in their free time,” she said. 

Ellisa, who is grateful to her third-grade teacher, Lori Farmer, as well as Hugo for “pushing me to my limits,” said it would be a “great honor to win the state title.”

“I hope it would show others they can achieve anything they set their mind to,” she said. 

The writer said her school held a breakfast banquet last year and this year for YGA contestants, and she received a journal and “other cool gifts” for winning the district.

Two other Bartow County students were named runners-up at the RESA level: Emerson Elementary second-grader Braylee Meeks for “The Life as a Hershey Bar” and Cartersville Elementary third-grader Brianna Irizarry for “Ellie’s Story.”