Two Cherokee County School District students have earned statewide honors in the Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition.

The annual writing contest is open to students in grades kindergarten through 12 and provides an opportunity for schools to encourage writing in a variety of genres. Each Cherokee County school submitted a top entry for each grade level to compete at the District level. The District winners then advanced to regional competition for the opportunity to compete statewide, and state contest entries were judged over the summer break.

Mountain Road Elementary School fifth-grader Halley Jurnack won first-place for fourth grade at the state level for her story, “A Camel’s Tale”; and Woodstock High School senior Sophia Abbott earned Honorable Mention for 11th grade at the state level for her story, “In Cold Blood.” Both of their award-winning stories are posted on the school system’s website at

They along with six other students placed at the Regional competition; the other Regional winners from Cherokee County schools are: first place, Kindergarten, Alexander Cantrell of Carmel Elementary School; Sixth Grade, Aahana Karangi of E.T. Booth Middle School; 10th Grade, Alison Eltz of Sequoyah High School; and 12th Grade, Chelsea Mandel of Creekview High School; honorable mention, Fifth Grade, Andrew Heydt of Clark Creek STEM Academy, and Seventh Grade, Emily Cruse of Teasley Middle School.

The Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools will recognize Halley and Sophia as well as the District-level winners at its meeting Thursday. The recognition will be virtual, with students and their families watching from home, and each will receive a certificate and letter from the Superintendent at their school.

CCSD First-Place District Winners (this list notes their grade and school for last school year):

♦ Kindergarten: Alexander Cantrell of Carmel Elementary School for “Superboy”

♦ First Grade: Joseph Lenyszyn of Hickory Flat Elementary School for “Gabrisha”

♦ Second Grade: Avery Miller of Avery Elementary School for “Mad Lab”

♦ Third Grade: Mary Ratcliff Lee of Bascomb Elementary School for “A Softball Situation”

♦ Fourth Grade: Halley Jurnack of Mountain Road Elementary School for “A Camel’s Tale”

♦ Fifth Grade: Andrew Heydt of Clark Creek STEM Academy for “The Tapping”

♦ Sixth Grade: Aahana Karangi of E.T. Booth Middle School for “The Human Body”

♦ Seventh Grade: Emily Cruse of Teasley Middle School for “Down by the Apple Tree”

♦ Eighth Grade: Katelyn Studer of Dean Rusk Middle School for “The Game in Winter”

♦ Ninth Grade: Priscilla Dice of Etowah High School for “Stolen Peace”

♦ 10th Grade: Alison Eltz of Sequoyah High School for “Sanctuary”

♦ 11th Grade: Sophia Abbott of Woodstock High School for “In Cold Blood”

♦ 12th Grade: Chelsea Mandel of Creekview High School for “The Box”

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