The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) is very proud of our 2014-2015 VOWA-BassPro High School Winners who typify both scholarship and love of the outdoors. These outstanding young people, along with the large number of fine students who entered our contest, are the future communicators and stewards for our precious outdoors. We present these winners with their winning essays linked to each title. Enjoy!
Ashton Cooper hails from Newport News VA where she attends Point Option Non-Traditional High School. Ashton is in the 10th grade.
Ashton and her family moved to Virginia from Wyoming when she was five years old. Ashton has two older brothers and enjoys writing, reading, being outside, and playing with her 2 dogs. Ashton is shown here with her mother and two teachers who made the trip to see Ashton recieve her award and read her beautiful essay. Wonderful dedicated teachers!
Ashton wrote a beautiful, touching story about her grief for the loss of a dear friend as she hiked in a very special place to them both, “the Noland Trail.”
Caroline Armstrong is a 16 year old talented writer from Deep Run High School in Glen Allen Virginia. Caroline’s essay gives a beautiful description of her summer canoe trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located along the border of the United States and Canada. The reader feels like they are right there with her and the other campers she meets as they paddle along in a gorgeous wild area.
Caroline is shown here with first place winner Aston Cooper. VOWA is very proud of Caroline, as this is her second win in our high school writing competitions. Last year she was our first place VOWA BassPro Winner!
Pooja Patel is an 11th grade student at Poquoson High School. Poquuoson is located near the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent to Plum Tree Island NWR. Pooja was unfortunetly not able to attend our conference, but her beautiful essay was read by Doug Blankenship from the Bureau of Land Management Eastern States, one of our judges.
Enjoyed very much by all present, “A Tour Down Memory Lane” recounts a trip to visit her native India highlighting her love of its nature and touching feelings about kite flying.
Awards Luncheon & Ceremony
Prizes were presented to the winners at a celebratory Awards Luncheon graciously sponsored by Dominion during our 2015 Annual Meeting/Conference held March 21, 2015 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Charlottesville VA.
BassPro sponsors our High School writing competition by providing generous gift cards of $150, $100, and $50 to our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners respectively. Ms Katie Mitchell, BassPro Communications Manager, also sends personal, handwirtten congratulatory notes to each winner!
Davida Carnahan, Doug Blankenship and staff members of the Bureau of Land Management Eastern States served as careful, patient, judges lending their expertise to selecting the very best essays. It was a tough job!
Sincere thanks to these organizations who together enable VOWA to make this special competition possible and to honor these outstanding young people.
Congratulations to all who entered, you are all winners to us! Keep enjoying, writing, and caring about the outdoors.
All conference images courtesy of Robert Thomas, Robert Thomas Photography. Thank you Robert!