Cass High student wins state writing competition
by Mark Andrews
Aug 27, 2013 | 976 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cass High School junior Courtney Keeler’s writing efforts as a sophomore were recognized this year as the student took first place in the 10th-grade division at the Young Georgia Authors competition for her piece of short fiction titled “The Virtues of Vices.”

“It centers around symbolism and that sort of thing because we’ve been studying that in school and it was an exercise in that, you could say, but with [the contest’s five-page limit], it makes it hard to do anything super grandiose,” Keeler said. “The piece itself took me probably two or three weeks to write. I had had the idea for the story the year before. but I ended up submitting an essay. So I didn’t end up returning to it until the subject was approached again, and so I polished it up, finished it and sent it in.”

Keeler, who has been in honors English courses since middle school, said she always has had a passion for writing.

“Everyone wants to be something when they’re little, whether its a singer or a dancer, and I guess I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” Keeler said. “I’ve loved to read, loved to write, and ... it’s a nice thing to see what other writers can do with what they’re given and basically formulate something from nothing at all.”

She said she enjoys aspects like world building and character development.

“The Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition is sponsored by the Georgia [Department of Education],” local coordinator for the event and Cass Middle School Media Specialist Deborah Hanenkrat explained. “Every year our schools participate by selecting a winner for each grade level for each school.

“These are put together and judged, and one winner from each grade level is selected to represent Bartow County Schools at regional then state levels of competition.”

She continued, “Courtney’s essay was selected as the best representation of 10th-grade writing for Cass High School, then Bartow County Schools, then the Northwest Georgia RESA, then for the state of Georgia ...”

Bartow Education Foundation Executive Director Dot Frasier is the sponsor for the local portion of the writing competition. Keeler was recognized for her accomplishment at this month’s Bartow County Board of Education meeting.

According to the GaDOE website,, “The purpose of the Young Georgia Authors (YGA) writing competition is to encourage students to develop enthusiasm for and expertise in their writing, to provide a context to celebrate their writing successes, and to recognize student achievement in arts and academics.

“This prestigious competition has been engaging Georgia students for more than two decades and is open to any student currently enrolled in Georgia public schools, grades K-12. The competition is co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) and the Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE).”