Step into the creative mind of seventh-grader Olivia Howe as she explains her story, "The Battle of Darkness: Arrival."
"And then they find this door at the grandmother's house and it takes them to the dark side of the moon," Howe explained. "Sort of like an alternate universe sort of thing."
Howe's novel received a Silver Medal in the 2013 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, a contest for middle and high school students across the country.
"There were 14 winners nationally in the novel writing category and she was the youngest one," said Susan Calabria of the Brattleboro Museum.
Vermont's entries are organized and submitted by education staff at the Brattleboro Museum. More than 160 students in the Green Mountains entered artwork and writing. Nineteen were judged nationally.
"No matter what we are doing as it relates to visual images, we are also talking about oral and written literacy. So, it is a big part of what we do here," Calabria said.
And the recognition give this 14-year-old a new sense of confidence.
"Before I was like, yeah, I'm going to be rejected a lot because that is what everyone goes through. Now, I think that maybe there would be someone who would be willing to accept my story," Howe said.
She now sits in class dreaming of getting her novel published.
"Well, it's part of a series, so for someone to accept it they would have to accept the whole series. And then I have a lot of other stories going on, so that could mean that I would end up becoming an author like I dreamed of," she said.
"She is incredibly sophisticated as a writer," said Julianne Eagan of Brattleboro Middle School.
Teachers at the middle school had no direct hand in Howe's submission, which was actually completed last year. But teachers say the award reflects well on the region.
"I think all of Brattleboro should be proud," Eagan said. "Both that she was able to achieve something like this and up until now she has had this experience where she has felt really comfortable sharing her writing."
"I want to write and I want people to enjoy reading what I write," Howe said.
And as she stands among her peers, she can take pride knowing that she is standing out.
Howe is one of six students in Vermont to winner top honors in the national contest. Here is the full list of winners:
Vermont 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing National Winners
Adamson, Wood, Grade 11, Mixed Media, American Visions Medal
Boarding the Wreck
Info: from Atlanta, GA. School: St. Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury, VT
Jeoung, Bo La, Grade 12, Design, Silver Medal
Grand Mother's Scarf
The Putney School, Putney, VT
McLeod, Sarafina, Grade 12, Drawing, Gold Medal
The Putney School, Putney, VT
Pellerin, Serena, Grade 8, Sculpture, Gold Medal
The Boiler Man Marionette
The Compass School
Rampone, Abigail, Grade 12, Poetry, Gold Medal, American Voices Medal
Raw, Every Night, Edges
Fair Haven UHSD #16, Fair Haven, VT
Howe, Olivia, Grade 7, Novel-writing, Silver Medal
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