Dear Young Writers’ Contest Student Advocates:

We’ve discussed the program and the art of a story and you responded.  You asked how HLA judged the stories and we gave you the “Scoring Criteria”.

Now you have asked to see the winning story from the 2011-2012 School Year and we give you Maggy Rodgers of Hazel Green High School!  Go to the Young Writers’ webpage and look on the right hand side bar.  There you will find a link to a digital copy of Maggy’s Prize-winning entry from last year entitled “Purity”.  As noted before, it is rather dark, but wonderfully written.  Though it comes in at only 1100 words (remember the minimum for this year is 1500 words and the maximum is 3000), her story is concise and compelling, revealing that power can come in small packages (i.e. your short story!).

Thank you, Maggy (and her teacher sponsor from last year, Freda Duggan).

And Thank You, Gayle Milberger of HLA who generously passed on this wonderful story to yours truly.

Regards, Steve Gierhart

Publisher, The Ardent Writer Press and HLA Member

Don’t forget to mark February 1st on your calendar!


Steve Gierhart
Dale “Steve” Gierhart is a retired business manager for the United States Army. Based in Huntsville, Alabama on Redstone Arsenal, his career lasted from 1975 to 2010 in which he managed contracts, finances/accounting, and cost estimating for several missile defense systems, among which were Stinger, Avenger, Chaparral, Sentinel, JLENS, SLAMRAAM, and Non-Line of Sight.  The author wishes to thank the many co-workers, peers, and contractors who made these programs successful.  It is their tireless work that brought these systems to the soldier that needed them.  While budget constraints made it difficult for some of their work to see its full potential, they never blinked, they adjusted.  They persevered. Steve hails from Shawnee, Oklahoma; but most of his adult life has been spent in the beautiful hills of North Alabama where he lives with his wife, Bonny, who raises Tennessee Walking Horses. Between them, Steve and Bonny have 5 children and 7 grandchildren, and another grandbaby is on the way. Steve enjoys writing now that he is retired and plans more excursions of the imagination. He and Bonny, a retired engineer who worked as a contractor on several NASA and Army programs, will travel in their retirement though 15 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats can crimp the best of plans.