Winners for Creative Writing Contest of the 62 Otero Arts Festival have been announced. This year’s contest received a record number of entries at 445. Entries came from students throughout southeastern Colorado. Students had the option of using any theme to help inspire their writings or to draw their inspiration from any real life situation.
 
Creative writing includes writing where the purpose is to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions rather than to simply convey information. Creative writing expresses the writer’s thoughts and feelings in an imaginative and often unique and poetic way.
 
According to Debbie Phillips, coordinator of the event, creative writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees thoughts and creativity allowing the writer to form an identity of their own.
 
Creative Writing Judge was Dr. Fawn-Amber Montoya, Associate Professor, Honors Program Director, and Chicano Studies Program Coordinator at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Dr. Fawn-Amber Montoya completed her MA and PhD in History at the University of Arizona. Montoya completed a pre-doctoral fellowship at Texas Tech University before accepting a tenure-track position at Colorado State University-Pueblo. 

Montoya taught in the Chicano Studies program and History department for ten years before accepting a position as the director of University Honors. Montoya is the author of a number of publications and has been awarded University Awards in Excellence for Service and Student Advising and Mentoring.
 
Montoya is from Southern Colorado and her family has lived in the region since the mid-1860s. Her academic research is in Southwestern history, Colorado history, ethnicity, and gender. Montoya strives to connect her students’ academic careers to their future careers.

She strongly believes that every student should have an internship experience that will help them succeed in their career. “I was thrilled to read the creative writings this year. The students work was exceptional and it was encouraging to see the quality and depth of the writings that were submitted.” Montoya said.
 
62nd Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing Winners:

Judge’s Best Representative Work, Best Overall Work High School - Crystal Kendall, Essay: “Rosethorn," Fowler, Mrs. Moosman
 
Judge’s Best Representative Work, Best Overall Work Middle School - Heaven Martinez, Essay: “The Long Bus Ride Home," Manzanola, Ms. Williams
 
Otero Junior College Writing Scholarship - Aaron Oliver, Swink, Mrs. Grossen
 
Creative Books, Best Overall Book & Most Original - Chyann Robinson, “Repeat: Cures of Asylum," La Junta High School
Most Creative Book & Most Artistic Book - Amethyst Jewell, “Myths of the Impossible," Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
Best Storyline Book - Alyssa Mackey, “Dysfunctional Magic," Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
 
Poetry:
Seventh Grade -
1st, Angelina Salazar, “Where I am From," Manzanola, Ms. Williams
2nd, Addison Brusuelas, “Death," Rocky Ford, Mrs. Mameda
3rd, Dalton L. Carroll, “The Nightmare," Manzanola, Ms. Williams
HM, Luis Carale, “Time," Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Isabel Roybal, “Winter A Fine Season," Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Evenise Quintero, “Life and Death," La Junta, Mrs. Moore
Eighth Grade -
1st, Trent Johnston, “Branding," La Junta, Mrs. Miner
2nd, Ian Backes, “The Perfect Game," La Junta, Mrs. Miner
3rd, Emma Ledbetter, “Dad," La Junta, Mrs. Miner
HM, Alex Montoya, “The Moon and the Wolves," La Junta, Mrs. Miner
HM, Sammie Zumwalt, “Yellowstone: Viejo Alce Macho," Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Carlos Carale, “Quartersworthy," Swink, Mrs. Weber
Ninth Grade -
1st, Kailani Aragon, “Nature’s Mirror," Swink, Mrs. Wallin
2nd, Dawn Diaz, “Raindrops," Swink, Mrs. Wallin
3rd, Yancie Franklin, “Summer: Sonnet 1,” Campo, Ms. Harris
HM, Isaac Stephens, “A Ranchers Life," Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Brayan Garcia-Cruz, “Poison," Manzanola, Ms. Holmes
HM, Kyle Bierbaum, “The Fox," Swink, Mrs. Wallin
Tenth Grade -
1st, Matt Huff, “Little Nightmare," Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
2nd, Keegan Russell, “Yellow Lines Blurred," La Junta, Mr. Schmidt
3rd, Sandra Hernandez, “Trampled Flowers,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
HM, Crystalin Jewell, “Art of Origami and Life,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Alex Rivera, “The Courier,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Ean Martinez, “Tattoos,” Manzanola, Ms. Holmes
Eleventh Grade -
1st, Alyssa Chavez, “Wolf Like,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
2nd, Lisa Dittemore, “November Night,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
3rd, Mackenzie Turner, “Obligations,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
HM, Levi Collins, “Lurking Shadows,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
Twelfth Grade -
1st, Alex Ritter, “Lost in Life,” La Junta, Mrs. Smith
2nd, Damien Bowers, “Silence,” La Junta, Mrs. Meiklejohn
3rd, Jasmine George, “A Hound’s Honor,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
HM, Taylor Efird, “Rain,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
HM, Savana Stites, “Porcelain Doll,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
HM, Emi Romero, “Farewell,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
 
Essay:
Seventh Grade -
1st, Angelina Salazar, “The Truth Behind Moving,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
2nd, Alex Ramirez, “The Reason Why I Don’t Have a Valentine,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
3rd, Jamie Graham, “Drag Cars vs Drift Cars,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Justin Paolucci, “Bryce Harper,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Emma Hanagan, “Deforestation,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
Eighth Grade -
1st, Heaven Martinez, “The Long Bus Ride Home,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
2nd, Kiarrah Santistevan, “Getting Back Up,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Brusuelas
3rd, Daniel Escareno, “Got Exposed,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
HM, Shealie Schmidt, “The Last Call,” La Junta, Mrs. Miner
Ninth Grade -
1st, Qierra Vigil, “The Princess,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
2nd, Val Leone, “Thin Ice,” Fowler, Mrs. Mossman
3rd, Kailani Aragon, “Hearts or Wallets,” Swink, Mrs. Wallin
Tenth Grade -
1st, Hannah Smith, “Psychological Effects of Music on the Brain,” La Junta, Mr. Schmidt
2nd, Ian Kersey, “My Happy Place,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
3rd, Lexi Bradshaw, “Back Bone," Swink, Mrs. Grossen
HM, George Cardenas, “A Sturdy Base For a Complex Structure,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
HM, Colt Honey, “Why Do They Kneel,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
Eleventh Grade -
1st, Crysan Kendall, “Rosethorn,” Fowler, Mrs. Mossman
2nd, Triston Mendoza-Werner, “The Idiot’s Guide to Robbing a Bank,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
Twelfth Grade -
1st, Alex Whitfield, “Star Wars Battlefront II vs Call of Duty II,” La Junta, Mrs. Smith
2nd, Jade Mora-Menges, “Gun Control,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
3rd, Laura Whalen, “Values of Losing a Parent,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Hallie Romero, “College Transition,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
 
Short Story:
Seventh Grade -
1st, Luis Carale, “The Model Rocket Ship," Swink, Mrs. Weber
2nd, Emma Martinez, “Missing…” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
3rd, Dalton L. Carroll, “Map!” Manzanola, Mrs. Williams
HM, Addison Johnston, “The Mistaken Suicide,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Dajalina Flores, “Memories,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Emma Hanagan, “Uninjured,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
Eighth Grade -
1st, Carlos Carale, “Listening,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
2nd, Kooper Grinstead, “The Bag,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Brusuelas
3rd, Leia Mora-Menges, “The Missing Person,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
HM, Nathaniel Encinias, “One Shot,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Brusuelas
HM, Kiarrah Santistevan, “Little Blue Kite,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Brusuelas
HM, Bethany Taullie, “I’m Fine,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
Ninth Grade -
1st, Abigail Mayfield, “Not Who You Think It Is,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
2nd, Maresa Lucero, “Dollhouse,” Manzanola, Ms. Williams
3rd, Frederik Rikhof, “Catching a Virus,” Swink, Mrs. Wallin
HM, Anisa Gonzalez, “Selfless,” Swink, Mrs. Wallin
HM, Kyle Bierbaum, “Louis Hofwoll and the War of 3037,” Swink, Mrs. Wallin
HM, Matthew Mendoza, “Run,” Swink, Mrs. Wallin
Tenth Grade -
1st, Hannah Smith, “Case Files,” La Junta, Mr. Schmidt
2nd, Nariah Smith, “The Call and the Answer,” La Junta, Mr. Schmidt
3rd, Steven Hildreth, “The Once Invincible Man,” Fowler, Mrs. Mossman
HM, Gilbert Archuleta, “Trip to the ER,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
HM, Olivia Lewis, “Robots Do It Better,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
HM, Alex Rivera, “The White Rose,” Cheraw, Mrs. Buhr
Eleventh Grade -
1st, Dimitrius Tenorio, “Waiting for Infinity,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
2nd, Jill Wallace, “Blue Snow,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
3rd, Esmeralda Perez, “May 12th,” La Junta, Mrs. Meiklejohn
HM, Kayla Bierbaum, “The Girl That Heard the Dragon’s Cry,” Swink, Mrs. Grossen
HM, Bonita Rael, “A Life Span in a Single Scent,” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
HM, Shayne Ede, “The Cabin,” Fowler, Mrs. Mossman
Twelfth Grade -
1st, Savannah Vigil, “Snowy Weather,” Swink, Mrs. Weber
2nd, Danielle Lucero, “Equality?” Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson
3rd, Jasmine George, “What is Love?" Rocky Ford, Mrs. Robinson