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KET announces winners of its 2020 Young Writers Contest


KET announces winners of its 2020 Young Writers Contest

For Release: 05/27/20 11:39 AM

KET is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 Young Writers Contest. The annual contest encourages creative expression and literacy development by inviting students in kindergarten through twelfth grade to submit original illustrated stories, short stories and poetry.

This year, KET received more than 1,300 submissions from across Kentucky as well as 30 other states and five countries, including Thailand, Puerto Rico, Canada, China and a U.S. military post in Germany.

Hannah Drake, a poet and book author who was one of the judges for the contest, said she was impressed by all the exceptional writing she received.

“Their work is phenomenal,” Drake said. “As I read them, I am comforted in knowing poetry is going to be okay.”

The other contest judges are Richard Taylor, a former Kentucky poet laureate who’s published more than a dozen books of fiction, poetry and Kentucky history, and Jeff Worley, the current poet laureate of Kentucky, who’s published six books and four chapbooks of poetry.

The top three winners, along with a list of finalists for each grade division and high school poetry type, are listed below. Full versions of the winning entries will be available online at

Kindergarten – Illustrated

1st place: David Sun, Lexington, Rosa Parks Elementary
2nd place: Nathan Hardin, Louisville, Cirque Hardin
3rd place: Jackson Potter, Pikeville, Wesley Christian


  • Maryam Gauhar, Louisville, Greathouse Shryock Traditional
  • Lily McClain, Louisville, Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School
  • Anna Mostad, Wilmore, Shine Academy (homeschool)
  • Noah Poly, Lexington, poly academy
  • Luca Santanello, Warsaw, Ind., Warsaw Christian School
  • Anthony Tullius, Somerset, homeschool

First Grade – Illustrated

1st place: Raiyan Elmerse, Louisville, Norton Elementary
2nd place: Alesha Hasan, Louisville, Brandeis Elementary
3rd place: Grace Hardin, Louisville, Cirque Hardin


  • Madison Iocco, Union, homeschool
  • Lucy Anna Kirkland, Lexington, Rosa Parks Elementary
  • Clayton Hettinger, Frankfort, Good Shepherd Catholic School
  • William Worrell, Willingford, Hillsboro Elementary School
  • Kaleb McClain, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Elementary School
  • Ali Jaber, Louisville, Islamic School of Louisville
  • Sabeeh Ahmad Ahmad, Louisville, Islamic School of Louisville

Second Grade – Illustrated

1st place: Liam Sweeney, Lexington, Redwood Cooperative School
2nd place: Joshua Tanner, Olathe, Kan., Millbrooke Elementary
3rd place: Stella Heathcoat, Lexington, Providence Montessori


  • Jenna Faulkner, Owensboro, Highland Elementary
  • Demi Brown, Paducah, Symsonia Elementary
  • Saanvi Jahagirdar, Groton, Conn., Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School
  • Isla Fauver, Louisville, The Waldorf School of Louisville
  • Logan Potter, Pikeville, Wesley Christian
  • Brycen Saylor, Lynch, Cumberland Elementary School
  • Maddox Moore, Louisville, Dunn Elementary

Third Grade – Illustrated

1st place: Ani Fauver, Louisville, The Waldorf School of Louisville
2nd place: Lucas Glasnovic, Louisville, homeschool
3rd place: Ryan Maya, Louisville, Stopher Elementary


  • Peyton Kennedy, Hardinsburg, Custer Elementary
  • Caitlyn Douglas, Lexington, Ashland Elementary
  • Lauren Griffith, Allen, Wesley Christian
  • Alice Dobson, Louisville, Brown School
  • Nicol Cohen, Louisville, The Waldorf School of Louisville
  • Abigail Haxby, Mt. Washington, The Waldorf School of Louisville
  • Kinley Mann, Williamstown, Williamstown Elementary
  • Carson Fair, Lexington, Rosa Parks Elementary
  • Ibraheem Gauhar, Louisville, Greathouse Shryock Traditional

Intermediate – Illustrated

1st place: Lydia Kerridge, Dallas, Tex., Greenhill School
2nd place: Huda Hasnain, Goshen, Islamic School of Louisville
3rd place: Sarah Gauhar, Louisville, St. Matthews Elementary


  • Adah Hardin, Louisville, Cirque Hardin
  • Tasneem Majdalawi, Crestwood, Kenwood Station Elementary
  • Ainsley Woodward, Berea, Berea Community Elementary
  • Lizzie Branham, Prestonsburg, Wesley Christian

Intermediate – Poetry

1st place: Ellie Gartman, Mobile, Ala., UMS-Wright
2nd place: Ava Burris, Owensboro, Country Heights Elementary
3rd place: Christopher Thames, Falls Church, Va., Haycock Elementary


  • Sylvia Mason, Louisville, Coral Ridge Elementary
  • Colt Cook, Lancaster, Lancaster Elementary
  • Liam Moffett, Harrodsburg, Mercer County Intermediate School
  • Alejandra Villalva, Fort Mitchell, Beechwood Elementary
  • Ava Jayne Carpenter, Danville, Toliver Elementary
  • Lily Tay, Lexington, SCAPA
  • Parker Fenush, Crestwood, Centerfield Elementary
  • Allie Baker, Richmond, Model Laboratory School
  • Grace Luxon, Richmond, Model Laboratory School
  • Hayleigh Bowens, Richmond, Model Laboratory School

Intermediate – Short Story

1st place: Alethea Hwang, Wilmore, Wilmore Elementary School
2nd place: Fatima Khan, Lexington, Rosa Parks Elementary
3rd place: Vivian Cuneo, Sonoma, Cal., Saint Francis Solano School


  • Hope Darnell, Dayton, St. Catherine of Siena
  • Makenly Pollock, Taylorsville, Spencer County Elementary
  • Jaykeb McCoun, Lexington, Meadowthorpe Elementary School
  • Madison Bove, Colorado Springs, Colo., The Classical Academy
  • Evelyn Afenya, Lexington, Meadowthorpe Elementary
  • Zaineb Elmerse, Louisville, Norton Elementary
  • Olivia Seaton, Louisville, Stopher Elementary School
  • Lilly Burrows, Crestwood, Centerfield Elementary
  • Shiven Das, Bridgwater, NJ, Eisenhower Intermediate School
  • Eric Gordon, Lexington, Meadowthorpe Elementary
  • Daniel Liew, Lexington, Meadowthorpe Elementary
  • Andrew Glass, Mayfield, Mayfield Middle School

Middle School – Poetry

1st place: Luke Jeziorski, Louisville, St. Agnes Parish School
2nd place: Josh Newby, Danville, John W. Bate Middle School
3rd place: Adeline Hall, Bremen, Maine, homeschool


  • Charlotte Clark, Greenville, SC, Sterling School, CTC
  • Nazli Kasimova, Louisville, Ramsey Middle School
  • Gavin Proffitt, Richmond, Clark Moores Middle School
  • Athena Mandzy, Lexington, SCAPA
  • Nina Tay, Lexington, SCAPA at Bluegrass
  • Reagan Ricker, Coto de Caza, Puerto Rico, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
  • Kelly Keniston, Lexington, Leestown Middle School
  • Kaylee Belle Barnes, Irvine, Clark Moores Middle School

Middle School – Short Story

1st place: Kate Ucan Ake, Louisville, St. Athanasius
2nd place: Alyssa Pollard, Louisville, Noe Middle School
3rd place: Sierra Fox, Berry, Williamstown Jr/Sr High School


  • Lilli Ward, Versailles, Woodford County Middle School
  • Mara Bieri, Butler, Ohio, homeschool
  • Hannah Clark, Lexington, Bryan Station Middle School
  • Emily Yoder, Lexington, Fayette County
  • Hannah Cooksey, Louisville, Highland Middle School
  • Eric Hannon, Louisville, Our Savior Lutheran School
  • Elise Schureck, Louisville, Noe Middle School
  • Cadence Woosley, Calhoun, McLean County Middle School
  • Caleb Masterson, Louisville, Noe Middle School

High School – Poetry

1st place: Sung Cho, Lansdale, Pa., Methacton High School
2nd place: Abby Kane, Crestview Hills, Dixie Heights High School
3rd place: Lauren Wood, Louisville, duPont Manual High School


  • Ellie Whisman, Hardin, Calloway County High School
  • Maggie Stuart, Owensboro, Daviess County High School
  • Ava Gregory-Mabrey, Bowling Green, South Warren High School
  • Jordan Cervantes, Greenwich, Conn., Greenwich High School
  • Ania Boutin, Harrodsburg, Mercer County Senior High School
  • Erin Preston, Fort Mitchell, Beechwood High School
  • Lauren Young, Stamford, Conn., Trinity Catholic High School
  • Jesslynne Mann, Campbellsville, Taylor County High School
  • Julia Huff, Versailles, Woodford County High School
  • Sammy Lambert, Paducah, Paducah Tilghman High School

High School – Short Story

1st place: William Greer, McAllen, Texas, McAllen Memorial High School
2nd place: Lauren Wood, Louisville, duPont Manual High School
3rd place: Abby Kane, Crestview Hills, Dixie Heights High School


  • Kiera Fehr, Lexington, Henry Clay High School
  • Ashton Long, Salyersville, Magoffin County High School
  • Sabia Irfan, Ottawa, Ontario, Colonel By Secondary School
  • Kaitlin Chung, Horseheads, NY, Corning Painted-Post High School
  • Penny Duran, DPO, AE, Carl Schurz Schule
  • Jonathan Bell, Prospect, North Oldham High School
  • Isaac Torres, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saint John’s
  • Lucas Jones, Midway, Woodford County High School
  • Sophia Li, Lexington, Henry Clay High School
  • Elizabeth Prater, Vancouver, Wash., Columbia River High School

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Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications