Congratulations to Eric Bennett’s sophomores and the winners of the Saranac Lake Central High School & ACW 100-Word Story Contest! We awarded Heaven LaFever (right), Jenn Audlin (middle), and Wyatt Cruz Lillegard (left) for their brief but moving memoirs, and Adirondack Daily Enterprise printed all of the submitted stories in an article released today.

This collaboration between ACW, local high schools, and local newspapers is yet another example of our commitment to inspiring the love of writing and reading in the Adirondacks. If you believe in that mission, consider making a donation to ACW today:

From the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (11/23/2022): “Saranac Lake students tell a story in 100 words”

SARANAC LAKE — Among the students at Saranac Lake High School could be the next great class of American writers.

Three students — Heaven LaFever, Wyatt Cruz Lillegard and Jenna Audlin — were celebrated by the Adirondack Center for Writing last month for writing the top three entries in an ACW story contest.

Heaven LaFever was the overall winner of the contest for her 100-word story “Behave, I love you.”

The students’ entries were written as part of a school assignment.

Last month, Saranac Lake teacher Eric Bennett challenged all five of his 10th grade classes to write true, personal narratives — limited to 100 words each. It was an assignment inspired by the New York Times’ 100-word story contest.

With this assignment, one of the goals was to teach students about the concept of “show, don’t tell” when writing stories, according to Adirondack Center for Writing Communications Manager Tyler Barton.

As students worked on the assignment, Barton visited each of Bennett’s five classes. Students had the opportunity to ask Barton questions and get feedback on their work. Barton also gave students advice on using specific, sensory details, using figurative details and using dialogue or quotes to make their stories more unique, memorable, evidence-based and to make the reader feel present in the scene, according to Barton.

The students, after completing their assignment, had the opportunity to submit their work to the ACW for entry into a contest. Altogether, 18 students submitted stories.

The writers of the top three entries each won a certificate and an ACW “prize pack,” which included a totebag, notebooks, pens and a water bottle.

The ACW chose the winner and two runner-ups. Barton delivered the winners’ prizes late last month.

This story contest wasn’t the only opportunity for students to get their work out there. Young writers throughout the region will have the opportunity to have their work featured in a new book, “Wild Words: Adirondack Teen Writing Anthology,” which is expected to be published in the spring.

The ACW is accepting entries now through March 10.

“Wild Words” is open to entries from teens aged 13-19 only. For more information, visit

Winning entry

“Behave, I love you …” By HEAVEN LaFEVER

…she says while I open the door. I scream back “I will, love you! Bye!” Our usual lines whenever I leave, so rehearsed I didn’t really have to listen to respond. Kicking off my shoes hours later, I yell to whoever’s home. The silence is heavy. I find my dad shut in his room, staring off into nothing. He explains that my mother was hospitalized again. Staring up at the moonless sky littered with stars, we watch the helicopter carry her to the next hospital. Hours in a hot car to say our final goodbye, but I already said everything.



I was sitting there in a small, quaint theater in Lake Placid, New York, my sweaty palms pressed up against hers. There was one thing on my mind and it wasn’t the movie. After one month of calling her mine, today was the day I was gonna kiss her. I should do it now, I thought. She turned to look at me after I mustered up enough courage to squeeze her hand, her eyes locking with mine. DO IT NOW! my brain screeched. All I could do was force a smile. I had blown it. Then, she kissed me.

“Rocky Road” By JENNA AUDLIN

Weathered Colorado cabins have been my family’s gathering place for generations. My cousins and I hug and laugh, running along the road and into the stream to find interesting rocks for our nana’s garden. When I sit on her swing, looking out at the flowers, I don’t just see colorful flora. I see the twins skipping stones, splashing water on our parents as they went fly fishing, and rows of round river stones drying beneath the pines. Now, as we begin to move away, we can still go back and see the little treasures from our adventures together.

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