Students’ Projects



La Plume welcomed Emily in 2019.  Two years later, she unanimously won the Grand Prize for her story Mango while in 12th grade. Kindly, she accepted to be a guest speaker at the 2022 Award Ceremony and a host. 

Part of her Web Writing class, Emily created an online writing portfolio, and made a video and blog post about her La Plume Grand Prize story. As her website is temporary, you will find below her bio and the links to her book and video clip.

Author Bio
        A native of Miami, Florida, Emily Chaffins is a journalist and an award-winning fiction writer and poet. She is dedicated to sharing her gift of storytelling to uplift and inspire others. 
        Emily Chaffins is an aspiring fiction writer who was won multiple awards, including a Silver Key Award in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Humor Category, 2021) and a Grand Prize in the La Plume Young Writer’s Contest (2021).
        With an American and Cuban background, Emily is a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar (2021-2022, 2022-2023). She participated in the Columbia University Novel-Writing Intensive Program for high school (Summer 2020) and the Iowa Young Writers Program for high school (Spring 2021). Emily is also an intern and reporter for the Florida Catholic newspaper.
        She earned an Associates of Arts degree at Miami Dade College and graduated this 2023 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English from Florida International University – Creative Writing and a certificate in Professional and Public Writing.
        Besides writing, Emily enjoys cooking and baking with her family and reading really big books.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a fiction writer. I just wasn’t always sure that I could do it as a career. Entering creative writing contests gave me a huge boost of confidence – I realized that I actually could be a writer!

Here’s the book I received from La Plume! I drew the cover art.

This video created by La Plume Young Writer’s Contest is a dramatized excerpt of “Mango” that I narrated!
“Mango” is actually inspired by stories that I heard from my own family. My family fled Communist Cuba, and I’ve heard many stories about the struggles that they faced.

Thank you so much to everyone at La Plume Young Writer’s Contest for your support and encouragement! I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all of this without you!



Lucia entered the La Plume contest when she was in 6th grade in 2017 and has been submitting her stories every year since. Her writing was praised by different panels of judges as she was awarded a total of two Grand Prizes, three 2nd Places and one 3rd Place.

In 2022, she applied and was accepted as a recipient of the Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowship in the Humanities which supports creative and research projects centered in the humanities. She developed the project “Facilitating the Art of Storytelling” which seeks to explore how creative writing programs, including competitions, summer workshops, and awards programs, impact the development of young writers.

Lucia presented her project live at the RE Bowden Fellows Gallery Night last November and online at

I explored both the student and educator perspective, conducting a case study of the local La Plume Young Writers’ Contest and surveying ~300 students in the United States and South Florida.

Being a writer has become a large part of my identity and deeply influenced my goals for the future. I know that much of this growth would not have been possible without educators and organizations such as La Plume and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards motivating me to produce meaningful work. 



First Place La Plume winner in 2015 and in 8th grade at the time, a returning contestant and recipient in 2018, Ana de la O pursued her passion for writing in her college years and is aiming to entry the publishing world in 2023.