FALL RIVER: Four students at Georges P. Vanier Junior High showcased their talents for essay writing last month, coming away with a first, a third, and two honourable mentions in the province-wide competition.

Sable Cahill; Matt Campbell; Lauren Peverill; and Jada Tilfore all took part in the annual Turning Points Essay competition. They were up against 400 other entrants from schools across Nova Scotia.

Cahill took first place with her personal story that affected her. Because of the personal nature of her story, she didn’t go into much detail about it during the interview with The Laker.

“I’m really surprised and proud of getting first,” said Cahill, 13. “I really wasn’t expecting it.”

She said it was cool to win.

“I never really thought my writing was worthy of winning first so I wasn’t sure about where I would place,” she said.

Cahill said she learned from the experience of what took place. She said she entered her piece after encouragement from teacher Dianne Woodrow.

“You can’t judge someone before you know their story,” she said. “Ms. Woodrow showed me that my writing had potential.”

Woodrow does it as an assignment in class with her students, with the option to enter the Turning Point essay contest.

The contest is done through The Learning Partnership, a national charitable organization that promotes education across Canada. Turning Points highlights students that faced a difficult situation and turned it into a Turning Point in their lives.

Matt Campbell’s story earned an honourable mention in the contest. That’s good for someone who initially wasn’t going to enter.

“I didn’t want to put my story on bullying and how it affects people at all,” said 13-year-old Campbell. “But Ms. Webber told me after proofing my story that she thought it should be entered.”

Jada Tilfore said she was encouraged to step out of her comfort zone and submit her piece. She wrote about adopting her little sister, Kyah, from China.

She wasn’t thrilled with her parents decision at first without her input. But she loves her little sister. She finished third.

“I’m happy that I did that,” the 12-year-old said. “My finish made me feel more confident about my writing.”

Lauren Peverill said having multiple students make the finals shows that there are good writers at the school.

“I was surprised because I didn’t think my story would do that well,” she said.

She wrote about an experience with soccer from last year.

“It was about how I didn’t make a team that I really wanted to and how I felt down about myself, and then learning from that experience and growing from it,” said Peverill, who got an Honourable Mention.

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Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!