Writer's Contest Winner Testimonials

Maximillian | First Place | Fifth Grade

Hi. My name is Maximilian, “Max” for short. I won First Place for Fifth Grade in the 2017 WQED Kids Writer’s Contest. It has been an amazing experience for me. Art has always been my passion, especially drawing.

I have never been a “sports” kid, one reason being that I developed juvenile arthritis in first grade. Even if I hadn’t developed arthritis, I think my talents are better suited for art! I love creating my own characters. When I found out about the WQED Kids Writer’s Contest, I was challenged to put a story to one of my characters.  I always had personalities and stories in my head for my characters but had never put a story on paper. My story was “High Pitch Snitch”.  It’s about a boy who learns that we should tell, or “snitch”, on people only for serious things like bullying and not for simple mistakes.

Finding out I was one of the winners turned a low day into an exciting one. It was a day I got my medicine infusion for my arthritis at Children’s Hospital. My mom later told me that as she was driving through our neighborhood to take me to the hospital, she was a little sad that I was not outside playing basketball with the other kids on that sunny day. But when we got to the hospital and she got the call from Michelle at WQED that I was a winner, it changed our day for the better!  A few weeks later, I had to record my story. I was nervous about doing an audio-recording at an actual radio station studio, but the people were so nice that I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

The Winner’s Award Ceremony at WQED was better than I had imagined! At the awards ceremony, we were given a bag of prizes including a family membership for a year to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.  My family and I are enjoying going to these museums and exploring all that they have to offer.  WQED also invited the winners to participate in other events such as the Passages and Prose event at the fancy Twentieth Century Club in Oakland.  We got to meet adult authors and read our stories aloud. I even got to autograph my story and give copies away.  I felt like a real author!  And I will be an actual “published” author when the anthology is printed!  And another positive aspect of this contest is that the winners get to promote this year’s contest with a radio advertisement and with our stories printed on a poster distributed to schools. It has made me somewhat of a celebrity at my school! 

Being a 2017 PBS Write On! Winner has motivated me, even more, to keep drawing and writing.  If you want to see some of my other characters and animated stories, check out and subscribe to the You-Tube channel I started called “Maxmarc”.  I want to thank Michelle Imler, everyone at WQED and all the sponsors for giving me this experience.  I could never have imagined that writing and illustrating my book, “High Pitch Snitch” would have brought such an amazing experience to my life.  Borrowing my character’s catch-phrase, I say “Hey Everyone” please continue to support the WQED Kids Writer’s Contest!  It is an extremely motivating and worthwhile event for young authors and illustrators.

Elly | Fifth Grade

Salutations, my name is Elly.  I am a 5th grade student at South Fayette Intermediate School.  I have always enjoyed reading,  writing, and creating a variety of characters and creatures. A few of my book characters include: Henry the traveling mouse, Wispy the lonely ghost, and the resourceful otter, Lina.  Alliteration is my specialty.  However, favorite part about entering the writers contest is making my own illustrations.  I have always adored art. Winning The PBS Kids Write On! contest has given me so many outstanding opportunities.  They throw a brilliant bash for all the winners which includes dinner, crafts, puppets, and a prize bag which is packed!

I was invited to attended a Passages and Prose event in Cooper-Siegel Community  Library.  I read my story Wispy's Wait, then signed book copies for kids.  It was so fun.  My school and community has been so supportive.  The Bridgeville Library invited me to read.  Barnes and Noble invited me to read. My Girl Scout Leader invited me to read to our troop. Even My third grade teacher, Mrs. Thompson, invited me to read my book to her new class. I have met a few published authors including: Lillie Leonardi, Jackie Cleary, and I met Stephanie Keyes.  Stephanie played the trombone in the South Fayette band just like me. How I would love to follow in her footsteps and become an author.   I was able to record my stories  in the Saturday Light Brigade recording studio in the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and was even on the radio answering questions with Larry Berger.  But my favorite event, which I will never forget, was speaking at a writers forum at Carnegie Mellon University. Four of us were on a stage answering questions about our books.  How cool is that! I have never seen a bigger smile on my mom's face. This will be my last time to enter the contest for next year I will be in 6th grade.  Wish me lots of  luck! I would like to thank my teachers and parents for all their support and encouragement.  And I am so grateful for WQED, EQT and all the sponsors, Michelle Imler and Gina Masciola for this incredible  opportunity.  Thank you. It has been one wild ride! You can visit my YouTube channel, - Ecliqse - , where I post art, animations, and more…. Stay Tuned!!

Where Are They Now?

How Many times have you won the contest?

"I have won twice in the contest."

Why did you enter the contest?

"Because I love to read a lot and write my own stories."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Write a story, Make it a good one. It is supposed to be fiction. It could be real life events too, imagine."

What do you do for fun?  What are your favorite activities?

"My favorite activities is to read and write, creating my own stories. Make it as good as Authors write it and not to copy any Authors books."

How Many times have you won the contest?

"3 times"

Why did you enter the contest?

"I saw a commercial on WQED one afternoon."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Try your best."

Do you still like to write? What do you like to write about?

"Yes I still enjoy writing. I like to write stories about animals."

How Many times have you won the contest?

 "2"

Why did you enter the contest?

"I love to write and draw so it was the perfect contest for me!"

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Have fun when you’re writing your book. Take your time and work on a little at a time."

What did you like best about being a Writers contest winner?

 "I liked that my whole school knew that I was a finalist and they all voted for me. I also liked the awards ceremony, puppet show and winning prizes!"

How Many times have you won the contest?

"4"

Why did you enter the contest?

"The first year - to try something new. 2, 3, 4...so many fun opportunities if you win."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Write what you feel in your heart"

How Many times have you won the contest?

"Twice, 1st and 4th Grade"

Why did you enter the contest?

"I entered the contest because I love to write stories and draw pictures to illustrate my stories." 

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest? 

"Write about something you really like or are interested in, then you will have an easier time writing your story."

What did you like best about being a Writers contest winner?

 "I really enjoyed attending the Winners Celebration.  The food was awesome and the activities were a lot of fun.  I also enjoyed hearing the stories of all the winners.  I am sad this is the last year I can enter the contest."

How Many times have you won the contest?

"I won first place three times, when I was in Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and 5th grade."

Why did you enter the contest?

"I love to write!  I wanted to share my ideas and drawings with others."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Think BIG and COLORFUL!  Fill the page with words and pictures. You have a great idea, show it off!"

Do you still like to write? What do you like to write about?

"I definitely still love to write. I am part of my school's creative writing club. I enjoy writing poetry, sci-fi, historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy and riddles. I plan to continuing writing into my adult life, and may be a published author someday."

How many times have you won the contest?

"I won twice, once in the second grade for The Surprise Meatballs and again in third grade for Hermie’s Adventure."

Why did you enter the contest?

"I came home from school with an assignment.  I had to write a story based on a picture I was given.  After I wrote it, my mom thought it was good and suggested I turn it into a story for the PBS Young Writers Contest. I drew all of the pictures and made sure the story had everything needed for the contest. We sent it in."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"I’d say 'Just write your feelings.' " 

Do you still like to write? What do you like to write about?

"Writing is fun, and I take an honors English class where we are constantly writing essays.  I can confidently write about anything they ask me, which gives me a spirit of creativity and freedom. I know that writing will be important to me the rest of my life."

How many times have you won the contest?

"3"

Why did you enter the contest?

"I entered because I had an interest in reading and writing at a young age, and I thought it would be fun to write and illustrate my own story."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Be creative. Use your imagination. Draw inspiration from your own life. And don't procrastinate."

What do you do for fun? What are your favorite activities?

"I like to hang out with my friends, participate in musical theater, play baseball, and read."

How Many times have you won the contest?

"I won the contest two times. (Kindergarten and 5th Grade)"

Why did you enter the contest?

"I entered the contest because I like writing and drawing."

What advice do you have for someone entering the contest?

"Don’t wait until the last minute to write your story and draw your pictures. It won’t turn out right, and you might not be happy with it."

Do you still like to write? What do you like to write about?

"Yes – I like to write fantasy and fiction novels."

What did you like best about being a Writers contest winner?

"I liked going to the awards ceremony and party. I really liked the puppets that were made from the main characters in my stories. (Vic the Chick and Shelly)"

What do you do for fun?  What are your favorite activities?

"I like to program robots, dance, and write stories."