Abigail Loudin / Submitted photo

B-U senior’s reflections on simple moments spent with her great-grandmother earns recognition in statewide writing contest

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior placed second statewide in the West Virginia Young Writers Contest.

B-UHS senior Abigail Loudin earned second place in the 11-to-12 grade level with her paper titled Nostalgia.

“I submitted two different papers, and the one that won was not the entry I was expecting to win,” Loudin told My Buckhannon. “It was actually an assignment I did for my English teacher previously. It was a descriptive essay. We just double-checked if it matched up with the outline for the contest, and it did.”

Nostalgia honored Loudin’s great-grandmother and the simple experiences they shared, such as canning food together.

“My inspiration was my great grandma,” Loudin said. “She lived like right across the hill from us, and every year we always helped her can. We would get apples from the apple orchard, and then she would make her apple pie filling, which was always my favorite. I really enjoyed those moments with her, those simple moments.”

While Loudin expected her other paper to win — she spent more time writing it — she admits she likes Nostalgia more.

“I was surprised, but I’ve always had such a joy for writing and my mom told me, ‘Oh, you’re so good at it,’” Loudin said. “But she’s my mom, she has to say that, so I felt like my talent was being noticed. I used to write books in first grade, and then for show-and-tell, I would read them. I would just make little picture books, and right after my little sister was born, I wrote a book about her and read it to my class.”

Loudin plans to go to college for political science and eventually law school, which will involve a lot of writing.

“I’m just very appreciative and it is validating,” she said of her award. “I’m very happy about it and I feel like it made me a lot more confident in my ability to write.”

B-UHS English teacher Edwina Howard-Jack said each English class was asked to submit one entry for the contest, but she was torn on Abby’s entries.

“I submitted two of hers, and then I submitted one for each of my other classes,” Howard-Jack said. “The county did the initial judging and then they sent the county winners on to the state, where Abby won second place.”

Howard-Jack said she appreciated Loudin’s voice in her writing and has seen her work continuously improve.

“She already had the basis of being a good writer — she’s creative, so we worked on her sentence structure a little bit and we read some exemplar texts so she was able to model some of the techniques from those papers,” Howard-Jack said. “I saw her writing getting better, and the one called Nostalgia made me cry at the end. It was that good. The other one had such an authentic voice, it was so relatable. It’s called The Unlikely Pessimist.”

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