Christina Nelson, Spruce Mt. High School, was the Franklin County winner. Submitted photo

PORTLAND — The Telling Room, a literary arts education organization whose mission is to empower youth through writing and share their voices with the world, is thrilled to recognize fourteen young authors from across Maine as county winners in the 17thh Annual Statewide Writing Contest.

Christina Nelson, a junior at Spruce Mountain High School, wrote “It’s Not as I Once Dreamed.” She wrote about how as you grow up you realize your dreams of how your life should go, don’t always turn out the way you hope. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Sometimes the right path isn’t always the path you want to take.

Each year The Telling Room encourages Maine youth to submit work to the annual contest, and this year in total, 300 submissions of creative writing. The winners were selected by a panel of judges that included booksellers, local authors, editors, publishers, Telling Room alumni, and current Telling Room students. Students in The Telling Room’s Publishing Workshop set the standards by which each piece of writing was judged and had the final say in selecting winners.

To recognize the wide geographic participation in this year’s contest, The Telling Room honored one writer from each of Maine’s fourteen participating counties as a county winner, in addition to the grand prize winner. Lily Jessen’s poem “Never” was selected as both the grand prize winner and the Cumberland county winner. Additional county winners include:

“The Rubik’s Cube” by Belle Beauchesne, age 16, student at Hebron Academy, of Lewiston (Androscoggin)

“Only Child” by Taylor Coulombe, 11th grader at Fort Kent Community School, of Wallagrass (Aroostook)


“It’s Not as I Once Dreamed” by Christina Nelson, 11th grader at Spruce Mountain High School, of Jay (Franklin)

“I Melt In Music” by Luci Misiaszek, age 15, 10th grader at Mount Desert Island High School, of Trenton, (Hancock)

“The Unfortunate Dragonfly” by Nhi Nguyen, 12th grader at Oak Hill High School, of Litchfield (Kennebec)

“A Cow Named Horse” by Imogen Esmé Egenson age 11, of Hope (Knox)

“Silent Shadows” by Lily Coleman, 8th grader at the Center for Teaching and Learning, of Edgecomb (Lincoln)

“Ballet-Slipper Pink” by Kate Dilworth, 11th grader at Hebron Academy, of Norway (Oxford)


“Nocturnal Beast” by Camryn Harvey, age 17 at Bangor High School, of Bangor (Penobscot)

“I am a Crow” by Imogen Dedek, age 11, student at Mt. Ararat Middle School, of Topsham (Sagadahoc)

“Dear You,” by Aaliyah Yarde, age 17, 11th grader at Nokomis Regional High School, of Palmyra (Somerset)

“Come Along Again” by Nevyn Harvey, age 17, 12th grader at Belfast Area High School, of Belfast (Waldo)

“A School for Clouds” by Deanna Ferris, 8th grader at Wells Junior High School, of Wells (York)

It’s Not as I Once Dreamed


by Christina Nelson (Franklin County Winner)

As a little girl, I always dreamed of starting high school

Being able to drive

A ton of friends that I would hang out with everyday

I dreamed of becoming many things

But as I grow up more and more, the less I am excited


I am now in my third year of high school

I have sent out for my license

It’s not as I once dreamed it would be

I now have to settle on a career

And figure out what I want to be

It’s not as I once dreamed it would be


Thinking about which colleges to apply to

Not knowing if I even want to go

Work piling, up falling behind

Stressed out, losing out on opportunities

Shutting out friends

It’s not as I once dreamed it would be


This isn’t how I wanted my teenage years to be

So full of stress

Losing all my friends

The only thing I have to look forward to is getting my license

So I don’t have to rely on others to get around

Maybe then I will have the life I dreamed of as a little girl

But right now

It’s not what I once dreamed my life would be.

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