Winners of the 2017 Duke TIP Writing Contest Announced

A forest at sunset
Monday, March 13, 2017

For Immediate Release

Katy Munger

(919) 668-9153


DURHAM, NC—The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) has named the winners of its 2017 Writing Contest, held annually for participants in the TIP 4th–6th Grade Talent Search. This year, students were asked to write a story about a dog that has escaped from an animal control officer, from the dog’s point of view. Over eight hundred stories were submitted. Entries included wild adventures and poignant reflections on individuals’ relationships with their pets, and there were seven different states represented among the winners.

Each of the winners listed below and the school that identified each student for participation in Duke TIP will receive cash prizes. The first place winners 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 impressed with the caliber of the stories, as students used their imaginations and creativity to send their characters and our judges on some incredible adventures. We were pleased to receive so many entries and celebrate all of the students who participated.”

This year, TIP will debut a new Illustration Contest. Participants will be asked to create a two-dimensional artwork representing the first-place Writing Contest story from their grade. Winners and their schools will receive the same cash prizes as winners of the Writing Contest. The Illustration Contest opens today and closes on April 17.

Meet this year’s Writing Contest winners below.

Fourth Grade

First place │ Gabriela “Gabbi” Arenas, “In Search of Happiness”

Gabbi Arenas is a spirited fourth grader who enjoys reading, math, and sewing. She sings in the choir, plays volleyball and likes biking with her brother.

Second place | Olivia Antil, “What an Adventure!”

Olivia Antil lives in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with her parents, younger brother and sister, and a cat. She enjoys reading, theater and playing with friends.

Third place | Delaney Neal, “Doggone Lucky”

Delaney Neal is a fourth grader at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Rogers, Arkansas. She is a big sister to two siblings. Her hobbies include playing soccer and basketball, crafting, walking her dog, Lexi, and strumming her guitar.

Fifth Grade

First place | Becket Daniel, “The Life and Times of Buddy”

Becket Daniel lives in Athens, Georgia, with her parents, pets, and older sisters. She likes books, outdoors, swim team, Saint Michael, spaghetti, Avengers, and raising Labrador retrievers.

Second place | Ella Nichols, “Starting Over”

Ella Nichols has been a bookworm for her entire eleven years. When she is not reading, she enjoys writing, piano, and playing outside with friends.

Third place | Anabel Bohlayer, “The Dog That Spoke Wolf”

Anabel Bohlayer is a fifth grader at Franklin Academy. She has two cats and loves art. She is also a Girl Scout.

Sixth Grade

First place | Jocie Elaine Shelton, “Adventure Is Out There!”

Jocie Elaine Shelton lives in Oklahoma and is eleven years old. Her family has a dog named Maverick, who was her inspiration for this story because he loves adventures and she’s always trying to imagine what he’s up to all day. She enjoys reading, writing, and acting in her community theater program. Two years ago, Jocie won second place in the fourth grade division of the Duke TIP Writing Contest.

Second place | Sofia A. Perez, “Running from the Wrong Thing”

Sofia A. Perez has two siblings. She practices Jiu-Jitsu, piano, and writing. She lives in Miami and was born in Virginia.

Third place | Heather Adamsky, “Running Wild”

When Heather Adamsky is not writing or reading, you will find her at the barn with her favorite horses, or playing the clarinet and singing in musicals. She has pets, too—a dog named Cooper and a cat named Tanner. She and the rest of her family can commonly be found taking the dog on a walk—she thinks they have covered most of Raleigh, North Carolina! At her middle school, her favorite subject is language arts, where she can bury her face in a book.


About TIPDuke 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.