Winners of Duke TIP’s Annual Writing Contest Announced

Friday, June 3, 2016

For Immediate Release

Katy Munger
(919) 668-9153

DURHAM, NC—The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) has named the winners of its 2016 Writing Contest, held annually for participants in the TIP 4th–6th Grade Talent Search. This year, students were asked to write a story about their hometown one hundred years in the future, depicting what the world might look like then. Over one thousand stories were submitted—a record for the contest. Entries included visions of telepathic communication, robots, 3D-printed food, and teacher less classrooms. They ranged from the dystopian to the idyllic, each showing a creative take on where the world is heading.

Each of the winners listed below and their schools will receive cash prizes. The first place winner from each grade and their schools will receive $200; the second place winners and their schools will receive $100; third place winners and their schools will receive $50.

“The writing contest is a wonderful way for students to hone their writing and story-telling skills,” says Sally Taylor, TIP’s 4th–6th Grade Talent Search Coordinator. “We were particularly impressed with the caliber of the submissions this year, as students expressed their hopes and dreams of a future world with a great deal of creativity and imagination. We were pleased to receive so many entries and celebrate all students who participated.”

Meet this year’s winners below.

Fourth Grade

First place │ Reagan Schwendinger, “Simplicity Lost”

Reagan Schwendinger is ten years old and finishing fourth grade at Bridlewood Elementary School in Flower Mound, Texas. She has two younger siblings named Jake and Elise and two wild dogs, Scout and Buck. She loves to golf all the time but also enjoys swimming on a competitive team in Texas with her younger brother. She also likes to sew, play the piano, write, and bike around her neighborhood and explore with my siblings or friends. When she grows up she wants to be an author and write novels or young adult books.

Second place | Rachel Joel, “A Teacherless Class”

Rachel Joel lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She turns ten in June. Her parents work in the software industry, and she has a younger sister and a younger brother. She loves to read stories of adventure and mystery, and she spends her free time writing fiction stories, playing on her iPad, and, of course, playing with her siblings. She wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up because she is interested in saving lives of cute little kids.

Third place | Bridget Baile, “Dear Past”

Bridget Baile is ten years old and has already gone on many adventures. She’s been to Ireland, New York City, a cattle ranch in Montana, and Mardi Gras. She’s won multiple awards, including first place three consecutive years at State PSIA and Catholic Daughters essay contest. She lives near Lake Travis, where she loves tubing. She also enjoys drawing, writing, poetry, rock climbing, lacrosse, reading, playing with her friends, making movies with her sister, hip hop, and gymnastics. Her favorite classes are language arts and math. However, her main hobby is having fun and projecting joy and faith to those around her.

Fifth Grade

First place | Ramona Pierce, “New Climate, New Friends”

Ramona Pierce is a fifth grade student at Edna L. Toliver Elementary School. She was born in Iran and lived in Boston and Chicago before settling in Danville, Kentucky, at the age of seven. She enjoys reading, writing, and competing with her school’s academic team. She also likes gardening, cooking, playing soccer, and running on the Danville Admirals cross country team. She dreams of taking a backpacking trip across Europe and enjoys learning about people of different places and cultures.

Second place | Calum Klimavicz, “Extinction vs. Preservation—The Human Factor”

Calum Klimavicz is eleven years old. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, then spent three years living in Kiev, Ukraine, and now lives with his parents and younger sister on Daniel Island, South Carolina. He enjoys playing sports—football, swimming, and tennis—as well as playing Xbox and swimming in his pool. He is looking forward to lots of summer camps before he starts sixth grade.

Third place | Tibby Brown, “A Journal Named Takilla”

Tibby Brown just wrapped up fifth grade on the Louisiana bayou with a book in one hand and mosquito repellent in the other. She has the curliest head of hair and often compares herself to her curls, saying, “We both have a mind of our own.” Tibby is planted between three brothers, often playing and helping with the younger ones or singing with the older. She has fun creatively attempting CHALLENGES, playing soccer, and cooking. Her family loves making great food and music, conversation, and laughing together with occasional spontaneous dance parties.

Sixth Grade

First place | Anya Liu, “This Is 2116”

Anya Liu was born in California with Chinese heritage. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her parents and younger sister, Danya. Anya’s hobbies include playing piano, viola, and drawing. She is able to fluently speak Chinese and enjoys spending free time with her friends and reading. She loves to read fiction and has many, many favorite authors. Anya is particularly fascinated with legends and myths. She is currently working towards convincing her parents to get her a cat, but so far still has a long way to go.

Second place | Garrett Heller, “Step into the Future”

Garrett Heller is avid tournament chess player, math competitor, reader, and athlete, and he is fascinated by the technology around him. After reading Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future, Garrett was inspired to enter this competition from a STEM standpoint. In addition, Garrett and his sister cofounded Chess4Charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has raised over $25,000 to donate to various causes, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. See Garrett aspires to be a physicist or mathematician when he grows up.

Third place | Abby LaFollette, “Re-Day”

Abby has enjoyed writing stories since she was tiny, but writing isn’t all that she does. She also loves to play volleyball, sing and play guitar, paint, and act in musicals and plays. Her favorite class is science, mostly because of astronomy—she could talk about stars and planets all day long. She also absolutely loves cats; her cat is named Pumpkin.


About TIP: Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving academically talented youth. As a global leader in gifted education, Duke TIP works with students, families, and educators to identify, recognize, challenge, engage, and support gifted youth in reaching their highest potential. More than 2.8 million students have benefited from TIP programs and resources since 1980. TIP’s talent identification, academic, and research programs now serve as worldwide models for the education of gifted students.