RRISD students win Austin Family Magazine writing contest

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Two Round Rock ISD fifth-grade girls were named the winner and runner-up in the Austin Family Magazine Young Writers Contest.

Aanyah Abdullah from Live Oak Elementary School won the top prize, a Kindle and plaque, and Emma Trail of Caraway Elementary School was named runner-up.

The contest prompted fourth and fifth grade students to submit 100 to 300 word essays on the topic, ”What are you good at and why?” The submission deadline was October 15 and the top essays were judged by members of the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

“It’s a big deal for a student to win,” said Sherida Mock, Austin Family Magazine editor. “We like to encourage young people to write. That’s why we do this contest every year.”

There were 265 entries in the fifth-grade contest this year, Mock said.

Abdullah wrote her essay about her unique gift of bonding with special needs children, like one of her friends with cerebral palsy. Abdullah also wrote about her special skills in her published book, “My Friend Suhana.”

“One of the things I’m really good at that’s really special is bonding with kids with special needs,” Abdullah said. “I’ve had many experience in the past, so it was really nice that I got to write about it and tell it to a broader audience.”

Abdullah was surprised with the announcement of her accomplishment while she was in class Wednesday. Her mother, as well as Mock and Live Oak Elementary Principal Katie Holding, visited the class to share the news.

“Aanyah has always impressed me with her hard work,” Holding said. “Her already publishing a book with her mother shows you the type of abilities she has.”

Trail focused her essay on athleticism and her passion for sports. She was surprised with the award November 7 during a fifth-grade assembly attended by her family, teachers and classmates.

“I was so surprised, I feel amazing,” Trail said. “I’m very proud of my piece.”

Caraway Elementary School Principal Katrina Bailey presented the award to Trail and said her submission is a great example of student success as a result of dedicated educators.

“Having one of our students recognized in an award-winning magazine here in the area is a great accomplishment,” Bailey said. “The essay wasn’t something that she wrote at home. It was something that was pushed by our teachers. That is a testament for the world class instruction that they provide.”