LSSU High School Short Story Prize

Note: The LSSU High School Short Story Prize is on hiatus.

The LSSU High School Short Story Prize is a North American literary competition run by the Lake Superior State University Creative Writing Program (visit us online or follow us on Facebook!). The competition is open to all high school students residing in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to create excitement about writing and reading in high school students, as well as to raise awareness about the growing Creative Writing Program here at LSSU.

Each year, the contest award is a $500 cash prize that can be increased to a $1000 cash scholarship if the winner chooses to attend LSSU. The winning story will also be published in the subsequent volume of Border Crossing.  You can read the 2018 contest winner here, the 2017 contest winner here, the 2016 contest winner here, and the 2015 contest winner here.

The judges have completed the process of determining the 2019 prize-winner. This year, forty stories were selected as semifinalists, listed below in alphabetical order by name, with their locations, story titles, and grades. Seven finalists were chosen from these forty stories at the end of June, with the winning story chosen from the finalists in early July.

Congratulations to the winner and all the finalists and semifinalists! There was an excellent selection of stories from which to choose this year.


  • Jieyan Wang, Moscow, Idaho, “Deep Dreams,” grade 11


  • Lukas Bacho, San Francisco, California, “Packing,” grade 11
  • Uma Menon, Winter Park, Florida, “Surprise in Solitude,” grade 11
  • Ella Paraskevopoulos,  Cambridge, Ontario, “Daffodils,” high school
    student (unknown grade)
  • Helen Qian, Boyds, Maryland, “Desensitization,” grade 11
  • Elyse Thomas, Miramar, Florida, “Ode to My Father and Jamaica,” grade 10
  • Jieyan Wang, Moscow, Idaho, “Deep Dreams,” grade 11
  • Ann Zhang, Ballwin, Missouri, “Green Mango,” grade 11


  • Armstrong, Corey, Sault Ste. Marie,MI, “Judgement,” grade 9,Sault Area High School, Mr. Paul Pioszak
  • Bacho, Lukas, San Francisco,CA, “Packing,” grade 11, San Francisco University High School, Mr. Pierre Carmona
  • Bujnosek, Bailey, Mountain Center, CA, “Walled Out,” grade 11, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Ms. Kim Henderson
  • Burke, Ellen, Upperville,VA, “Wendigo,” grade 10, Foxcroft, Mr. Steven McCarty
  • Camargo, Katia, Miami, FL, “Sensible,” grade 10, Miami Beach Senior high, Haselmann
  • Craig, Rebecca, Okemos, MI, “The New World,” grade 9, Okemos High School, Ms. Amy Huntley
  • DeRosa, Vivian, Oakhurst, NJ, “Deferred,” grade 12, Communications High School, Ms. Jaime Vander Velde
  • Duran, Penelope, Houston, TX, “Tin Dance Sea,” grade 10, Willy Brandt Schule (German International School), Jevgenija Rahn
  • Econa, Tyler, Woodbridge, VA, “How Spring Thaws,” grade 12, Woodbridge Senior High School, Catherine Hailey
  • Ekeh, Siobhan, Milford, CT, “Lotus,” grade 10, Sacred Heart Academy, Megan Callahan
  • Ferdman, Jordan, New York City, NY, “Refresh,” grade 10, Horace Mann School, Andrew Fippinger
  • Fitzgibbons, John, Cornwall, PA, “Rainy Season,” grade 11, Cedar Crest High School, Dr. Jennifer Stumphy
  • Gomez, Fatimah, Mississauga, ON, Canada, “Keep Running,” grade 10, Independent Learning Centre, Homeschooled
  • Gonzalez,Angelina, Homestead, FL, “Treason,” grade 9, Miami Arts Charter School, Dana Degreff
  • Gowda,Rohun, Novi, MI, “Re-entry,” grade 11, Novi High School, Joanna Kidle
  • Holowitz,Morgan, Pewaukee, WI, “Sinking Trap,” grade 11, Arrowhead High School, Terri Carnell
  • Jin, Evie, Pittsburgh,PA, “After The Show,” grade 12, Winchester Thurston School, M. Christine Benner Dixon
  • Kadrich,Emily, Hartland ,WI, “Never Again: August 28, 1955”
  • Kim, Yeji, Hudson,OH, “Remember to Tell the Moon Goodnight,” grade 10, Hudson High School, Jacqueline Hannan
  • Larson,Nicole, Eagle, WI, “Red Waters,” grade 12, Arrowhead High School, Terri Carnell
  • Mannion, Angelina, New York,NY, “Psychosis,” grade 10, St Barnebus High School, Miss Osorio
  • Menon,Uma, Winter Park,FL, “Surprise in Solitude,” grade 11, Winter Park High School, Mr. Fottler
  • Mota Cichy, Sofia, Okemos,MI, “For Wolfram, Love Lia,” grade 10, Okemos High School, Jessica Geyer
  • Paraskevopoulos, Ella, Cambridge,ON, “Daffodils”
  • Qian,Helen, Boyds,MD, “Desensitization,” grade 11, Helen Qian, Joshua Klotz
  • Rinkus,Priya, Rumson,NJ, “Winter’s End,” grade 11, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, Jack Shea
  • Roberts,Caitlin, Anchorage,AK, “The Silver Lining,” grade 11,Robert Service High School, Mrs. Palmisano
  • Satterfield,Keeley, Freeport,MI, “The Symptoms of Our World,” grade 11, Thornapple Kellogg High School, Cary Saxton
  • Schramka,Caroline, Pewaukee,WI, “Perception,” 12, Arrowhead Union High School, Mrs. Terri Carnell
  • Selim,Sarah, Elmwood Park,NJ, “Happiness (And Other Vices),” grade 11, Bergen County Academies, Mr. Richard Weems
  • Shin ,Spencer ,Watertown,CT, “Breathe in the Road not Taken,” grade 10,The Taft School,Steven Palmer
  • Smith,Magdalena, Ithaca,NY, “Train Ride,” grade 11, Lehman Alternative Community School, Dr. Naminata Diabate
  • Snyder,Grace, Cedarville, MI, “Winter Elegy,” grade 11, Les Cheneaux Community Schools, Joanna Izzard
  • Thomas,Elyse, Miramar, FL, “Ode to My Father and Jamaica,” grade 10, Miami Arts Charter, Victoria Castells
  • Trimmer,Lauryn, Camarillo, CA, “The Pocketknife,” grade 12, Trinity Pacific Christian School, Heather Trimmer
  • Wahmhoff,Joanna, Hartland, WI, “Fight,” grade 11, Arrowhead Union High School, Elizabeth Jorgensen
  • Wang,Jieyan, Moscow, ID, “Deep Dreams,” grade 11, Moscow High School,Robert Bailey
  • Yeomans-Stephenson, Rebecca, Okemos, MI, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” grade 12, Okemos High School, Rachel Freeman
  • Zhang, Ann, Ballwin, MO, “Green Mango,” grade 11,John Burroughs School, Maggie Ervin
  • Zrncic, Zachary, Mechanicsburg, PA, “The Hills of Abandon,” grade 10, Mechanicsburg Area Senior High, Meghan Mathis

2019 THEME

In this, the fifth year of the LSSU High School Short Story Prize, the theme for the contest will be open. This means any short story written by a North American high school student will be considered for this year’s contest! For more on what we’re looking for, read the contest rules below.


The following short stories, which were used as models during our last four years of contests, are all available online:

Also available online are all of the winning stories from the last four years:


To enter, high school writers submit an original, unpublished story that meets the following guidelines:
1. Entrants must be high school students and residents of the United States or Canada. All entries will initially be read anonymously, with the identities of authors revealed only after judges’ semifinalist decisions are made; locations will be checked after this point.
2. This year’s contest theme is open. This means we are looking for any stories written in a compelling voice with a well-developed story, character depth, a detailed setting, attention to language, and a deeper meaning.
3. Stories may be no longer than 5,000 words.
4. Students may enter only once, and stories must have individual authors.
5. Address and contact information should be entered in the form only; please do not enter contact information on the story itself. Stories will be read blind.
6. On the upload form, enter your grade, high school, and current English teacher’s name.
7. Entries must be previously unpublished, online or otherwise, at the time of submission. (There is no need to withdraw stories if they are selected for publication after submission.)
8. The winner will be asked to provide proof of residency and high school student status (homeschool status is acceptable as long as documentation can be provided).
9. The winner must sign a standard Border Crossing publication contract (for first-time North American serial rights only–all other rights remain with the author). For legal minors, the winner’s parent or guardian will co-sign.
10. Per Border Crossing editorial board policy, the winning story may be subject to editing. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize if no entry of winning quality is received.


Teachers, parents, and students interested in the contest are encouraged to sign up for the contest newsletter to receive contest updates.



Enter your story using the Border Crossing submissions manager onlineThere is no fee for entering.


2018: Historical Fiction Short Stories Lesson Plan, Model Texts, and Contest Results

2017: Realistic Fiction Short Stories Lesson Plan, Model Texts, and Contest Results

2016: Alt-History Short Stories Lesson Plan, Model Texts, and Contest Results

2015: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Lesson Plan, Model Texts, and Contest Results


Contact the contest coordinator, Mary McMyne, at

Did you know? At LSSU, you can major or minor in creative writing and English education. We have been voted Department of the Year twice in recent years by Student Government!  Learn more about LSSU English Majors here.

15 thoughts on “LSSU High School Short Story Prize

  1. Noticing most of these people are from Michigan, and only a few places in Michigan at that…biased judges?

  2. Thank you for your comment. In response to your concern regarding the possibility of biased judges, per the contest rules, the entries were actually read blind (that is, without names or any identity attached). When we analyzed our submissions after decisions were made, we did note that we received many more entries from Michigan students than elsewhere. In the future we would love to receive more entries from all over the Midwest. One of our goals for next year’s contest is actually to work on publicizing the contest better in other states.

  3. Hi there! I’m the second runner up! Thanks so much for the great contest! My question is, is there any way to see the feedback on my piece? I’d love to know where I can improve to make my writing even better (and maybe win next year 🙂 ). Thanks!

  4. I entered last year and I found it fun and it opened me up to a new genre I didn’t even know I liked! These contests help me explore and interact with things outside of “my box”. I think I may join this contest too! 🙂 Thanks for doing this!

  5. So exciting to see the semifinalists! Will the first place winner be chosen from these short stories listed? Thank you Border Crossing for an excellent contest!

  6. We are hoping to select finalists by the end of the month, but the process may extend into June. Both the finalists and then, ultimately, the winner will be chosen from the stories listed here.

  7. Ditto on Joan’s comment. Is there anyway I could get feedback on my piece? Also, are the semifinalists in any order?

  8. Allyson, the semifinalists are listed in alphabetical order by student last name. We will make a note to email you to answer your question after finalists and winners have been selected. Thanks for entering!

  9. Around how many entries does the High School writing competition receive a year?

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