Winners Announced in AtGeist Young Writer’s Contest

Young Authors Winner Katie Scherzinger, Tom Britt, and Honorable Mention Lexi Scherzinger We received many creative entries for our first ever atGeist Young Writer’s Contest this summer. The decision was tough, but our panel of judges (atGeist Managing Editor Laura Gates, Lawrence Central Cub Reporter Adviser Elizabeth Granger and WriteStuff Writers Founder J. Andy Murphy) managed to determine the top tales from Geist Reservoir, as written by budding authors ages 8-14.

Katie Scherzinger of Fortville captured first place with her under-the-sea fantasy adventure called “The Unbelievable Day.” “I am a swimmer, so I wanted to do something water themed,” Katie explained. “I thought an underwater world would be fun.”

Lauren Sawyer took second place with her heart-warming story of a hermit crab, and Madison Gilstrap secured third place with “Ducky Panic,” cleverly written from the duckling’s point of view.

Receiving honorable mentions were Lexi Scherzinger (Katie’s equally talented younger sister) and Taylor Osborn. Lexi’s story featured a wish-granting fish, while Taylor’s fanciful tale, “The Ghost of German Town,” showcased her knowledge of Geist history.

Congratulations to all of our contest winners, who will receive a free movie ticket to Regal Cinemas and a plaque from We enjoyed reading your creative stories.

First Place
The Unbelievable Day
By Katie Scherzinger, Age 12

It started so innocently just a normal day in Geist. The air was warm, the water cool, and plenty of boaters were out on the reservoir. Then suddenly, I noticed a strange whirlpool of water out across the waves. I took my jet ski over to test the surrounding areas. Small ripples gently pushed my jet ski in so I turned off the engine. Without the motor I could hear a sort of humming. Or maybe buzzing, but so soft I could hardly tell if it was my imagination or if it was for real.

Captivated, I stuck my hand into the water to feel the current. I expected it to be weak, but it was actually very strong! It was too strong for me to be comfortable with, so I revved the engine to head home. Before I could even lift a finger, however, the swirling water sensed I was about to leave. The current seemed to have turned on a motor of its own, and it swiftly pulled me under.

Instead of the inky blackness I’d expected, streetlights bordered a sandy road with old fashioned shops lining the sides. People in bathing suits like mine burst out of shops and started to follow me like a parade! What was going on? Why was everyone celebrating? In bright, funky bikinis, people yelled, “All hail Queen Katie!” and carried me to a huge, golden, majestic, palace. I was loving it!

And then I woke up in my bed.

Second Place
By Lauren Sawyer, Age 9

It started so innocently just a normal day in Geist. The air was warm, the water cool, and plenty of boaters were out on the reservoir. Then suddenly, I noticed a little hermit crab waddling across my dock. It seemed he was trying to push a bucket of water I set out earlier for all the fish I had caught. The bucket didn’t budge, but then I realized I had placed all these fantastic hermit crab shells I had found earlier into the bucket to keep them moist. He didn’t realize that these shells were empty and he didn’t need to try and save his friends! I picked him up and explained to him that everything was fine and I wasn’t trying to make his species extinct! I ran to my room and found a tank in my closet that was perfect for a little crab. I put colorful rocks and a mini-pool of water on the bottom, and a stick against the wall so he could climb. I also put a little Barbie bed with a fuzzy blanket so he could sleep on something comfortable. I put him gently into the tank. He crawled onto his bed and I placed the blanket over him. He went to sleep joyfully. After a couple of minutes I saw something on his face. It was a smile! I named him Smile and I say to him at night, “Smile in your dreams, do you dream about life back in the lake, or life in my heart forever?” His eyes glistened and another smile hopped upon his face. I knew that meant he loved his new home.

Madison Gilstrap - Ducky Panic Third Place
Ducky Panic
By Madison Gilstrap, Age 11

It started so innocently just a normal day in Geist. The air was warm, the water cool, and plenty of boaters were out on the reservoir. Then suddenly, I noticed an inner tube full of screaming kids racing toward our family. My brother and I dodged left and my mother dodged right. As soon as that herd of kids went by – who I think need to be taught to be quiet like little ducklings like us – I couldn’t see my mom. After that we set out to find her somewhere around the lake. But after a long day of searching, we sadly could not find her. When we were on our way home, we saw a large boat racing toward us. It was too quick for us to hide from them. All of a sudden, a pair of hands grabbed me and a nother pair grabbed my brother. We were taken back to their boat, put in a box that had holes in the top. we were both scared so we could not help but peep. As soon as it all stopped, we were taken out and put in a screen box with a large light that kept us warm. We nibbled on rolypolys and ate duck food and, given names that fit us, I am now Tweety and my brother is Hercules. We now live a peaceful life with the two girls that saved us.

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