Manistee Middle School student wins statewide short story contest

MANISTEE — Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter is one of those positive thinking young people who take the approach “if you believe it, then you can achieve it.”

Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter (left) is shown be congratulated by her teacher Connie Josvai (right) after being named the winner of the Schuler Books and Music Stores Reader's Choice Award for her short story entry "Butterfly Curse."

Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter (left) is shown be congratulated by her teacher Connie Josvai (right) after being named the winner of the Schuler Books and Music Stores Reader’s Choice Award for her short story entry “Butterfly Curse.”

Winter was one of the 10 finalists  in the Write Michigan Short Story contest sponsored by Schuler Books and Music Stores. She received the  Reader’s Choice Award for her short story entry “Butterfly Curse” and will also receive a $250 cash prize.

“I was so happy to win this contest,” Winter said this week. “When I was writing this story I had a very good feeling that it was a possibility that I might win.”

Winter’s entry was selected by an online vote of the public who could vote on what they felt was the best selection. There also is another winner selected by group of judges and both entries will be published in the Write Michigan Anthology.

The Manistee Middle School student thanked everyone who supported her efforts in the contest. Her teacher Connie Josvai helped promote the need to vote for her story to fellow students and was the person who brought the idea to enter the contest.

“I could not have won this contest without Ms. Josvai telling me about it and without the help of my fellow students, family and friends who took the time to vote for me,” said Winter. “It was exciting to be the Reader’s Choice winner.”

On Wednesday evening the administration and board of education at the Manistee Area Public Schools honored Winter for her accomplishment. They presented her with a certificate acknowledging that she was the winner in the competition.

There also will be an awards ceremony put on by Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on March 17 where Winter will also be recognized and awarded her cash prize.

“I plan to save most of the money, but since I love animals  so much I might do something with part of it for Homeward Bound Animal Shelter,” said Winter.

Josvai said she felt the contest was a good opportunity for the students to show both their creativity and writing skills at the same time.

“It could be any topic or genre, which is great, so if a student was even interested in writing a poem, they could enter it,” said Josvai. “It gives all students an opportunity to shine in a certain area. One thing that was kind of hard is students are used to writing to a certain genre or assignment and this one was just open to anything.”

Josvai said she was proud that one of her students were able to win the contest.

“I am ecstatic about it and just to have a student win a Reader’s Choice Award is quite an accomplishment,” said Josvai. “With all the stories that are out there and for people to choose Nora’s story was wonderful.”

By having one of her students enjoy this type of success, Josvai hopes that more students in the future will be prompted to enter contests of this nature.

“I just spoke with the students in class today about Nora and the students who won for the Elks Americanism Essay Contest and there are more competitions coming up that I would like to see students involved in,” said Josvai. “You never know what judges are looking for, so I told them try it because you might have the writing style to put you over the top of others.”

Winter said this has encouraged her to write more.

“I am very excited to write a sequel to my story ‘Butterfly Curse,'” said Winter. “This motivates me to want to write more.”

Nora’s mother Sheryl said she is very proud of what her daughter accomplished.

“I am very proud of her and she always enters everything looking to win and a lot of times he does,” said Sheryl. “She handles it in stride whether she wins or loses.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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