Eighteen Students from Wicomico Public Schools are Finalists in 2023 Young Authors’ Contest


After receiving hundreds of submissions from talented writers, the Eastern Shore Literacy Association (ESLA) has announced the finalists in the 2023 Young Authors’ Contest, including 18 students from Wicomico County Public Schools.

Placement awards will be announced at the ESLA’s Young Authors’ Award Ceremony, which will be held in Holloway Hall Auditorium at Salisbury University at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 8. Wicomico students who place 1st locally, and those who receive honors at the state level, will be recognized at the May 23 Awards & Recognitions Night by the Wicomico County Board of Education and Wicomico County Public Schools.

Area students in grades 1-12 submitted an original writing artifact – poem or short story, or both – to be judged using a blind scoring method to determine finalists. Finalists are individuals who have finished in the top three (or more, in case of a tie) in their respective category (poetry or short story) and grade level.

Students from Wicomico County Public Schools who are finalists are listed below, alphabetically by last name in each grade and category. The order shown below does not reflect the students’ final placement in the contest.

Congratulations to all!

Young Authors’ 2023 Finalists from Wicomico County Public Schools

Grade 3, Poetry – Miles Colon, Leona Perdue and Jessie James Richards, all North Salisbury Elementary

Grade 3, Short Story – William B. Heim, North Salisbury Elementary

Grade 4, Poetry – Claire Hakeem, North Salisbury Elementary

Grade 5, Short Story – Jeremy Quan, North Salisbury Elementary; Rowan White, Westside Intermediate

Grade 6, Poetry – Lilly Elizabeth Finkbeiner, Bennett Middle

Grade 8, Poetry – Ronnie Becerra, Bennett Middle; Peter Jin, Salisbury Middle; Claire Marie Webster, Bennett Middle

Grade 9, Short Story – Sophia Bailey, Parkside High

Grade 10, Poetry – Ava Baer, Mardela Middle & High; Christopher Kim, James M. Bennett High; Wai Poorman, James M. Bennett High; Lauren Sulzbach-Oliveira, Parkside High

Grade 10, Short Story – Ava Baer, Mardela Middle & High

Grade 12, Poetry – Jay Schmuff, Parkside High

About the Eastern Shore Literacy Association: Eastern Shore Literacy Association is a nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the level of literacy in the lower three counties (Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester) on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It promotes quality literacy instruction by supporting the mission of the State of Maryland Literacy Association and International Literacy Association, disseminating best literacy practices to educators and parents, advocating for literacy issues through legislation, and collaborating with educational institutions, professional organizations and businesses. The group is active in the Lower Eastern Shore communities supporting literacy initiatives and individuals who have sparked a passion for reading. The group is made up primarily of K-12 educators (both current and retired) from public and private schools across Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore as well as individuals active in the higher education community.