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Gudmundson wins writing contest

On December 25, New York Mills seventh grader Ben Gudmundson became an official published writer. He won first place in the Outdoor News Junior Prose Writing Contest, and his story was printed in the state newspaper.

Earlier in November, Ben saw a poster about the Outdoor News writing contest on the bulletin board in Mrs. Heidi Dresser’s English classroom.  

“Of course, I wanted to do it,” said Ben, in an interview earlier this week. “I have a lot of good hunting and fishing stories.”

That day, Ben went home and talked to his mom, Holly, about the writing contest. He told her that he was going to write about the time he was hunting with his grandpa. Although that’s a fun story too, Ben’s mom thought he should write his musky story.

“We kind of argued about which one I should do,” said Ben, with a laugh. In the end, Ben agreed with his mom and decided to write the story about catching a musky while he was fishing for sunnies.

To be completely accurate…Ben wrote the story twice. After finalizing the first draft, Ben attempted to copy and paste the story onto the online form. For some reason, the story was deleted.

“It was so frustrating,” said Ben. He had no choice but to write the entire story again.

In December, Ben learned his story titled “Jeepers” was the first-place winner.

“I was really happy,” said Ben.

Not only was his story published in the December 25, 2020 edition of Outdoor News, Ben received a plaque, $100, and his story was submitted to the Outdoor Writers Association of America national youth writing contest.

NYM English Teacher Heidi Dresser said, “I'm so excited for Ben to have this experience! It takes a certain courage to enter a writing contest because you're putting your work out there for strangers to read and judge. Ben's success shows how rewarding that can be, and it's fun to see that happen.”

Besides the technical difficulties, Ben enjoyed the writing process and plans to continue writing. Perhaps someday we will see his byline again. Until then, we are proud of Ben and his achievement.