Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net), a comprehensive online classroom and training program that works with teachers to help students develop their writing and digital literacy skills.

The Newspaper Series: Teachers and students, K-12, are encouraged to participate in Young Writers Project by submitting best work done in class or outside of school, and by responding to weekly prompts. A team of students, volunteers and YWP staff selects the best work to be published in 20 newspapers in Vermont and New Hampshire and on VPR.net each week.

How to post work on youngwritersproject.org: Start an account, log in, click "Write" to create a blog, fill in the title and body of the work and give it a genre tag. For publication in the Newspaper Series, click "newspaper entry" under the question "Newspaper Submission?" and choose the prompt you are writing for. Under the prompts, fill in name, school and grade. Finally, click "Save." Students are also encouraged to create a blog to upload photos and scanned artwork, using the genre, "photo submission." More information on youngwritersproject.org.

Support: YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to contribute, please go to youngwritersproject.org/support, or mail your donation to YWP, 12 North St., Suite 8, Burlington, VT 05401.

Mystery: Something very strange just happened, and you don't know how or why. Write a story. Be succinct. Alternate: Photo #10. Write about this photo -- from any angle. Due April 5.

Dislike: Write about something that disgusts you, no matter how wrong, distasteful, or awkward it is. Alternate: Fairy tale. Write a fairy tale that includes the phrase, "one thousand peas." Due April 12.

Scared: What really scares you? Why? Tell a story about when you confronted it. Alternate: White lie. Write about a little white lie that grows and turns into a bigger lie until you can't keep up. Due April 19.

Technology: Your cell phone is broken and you can't get a new one. It's your first day without it. What happens? Alternate: Photo 11. Write about this photo. Due April 26.

Write about one of the biggest issues of our time. Prizes and recognition on Earth Day! Respond in poetry or prose to one of these prompts:

1. The year is 2050. Looking back, the climate crisis was solved in the most unexpected ways. You were there for a crucial moment. What happened? OR

2. Do you believe the world can solve the climate crisis? Tell us why. Due date: March 29

More contest details at youngwritersproject.org. Presented by YWP and Vermontivate, the sustainability game for Vermont communities

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and we select the best for publication in this newspaper and 21 others and on vpr.net. Here, we publish responses to the prompts: Eternal Night: You wake up one morning and the sun doesn't rise. What happens? and the Vermont Writes Day prompt: A moment I'll never forget ... Read more at youngwritersproject.org, a safe, civil online community of young writers.

Prompt: Vermont Writes Day (Feb. 7)

A moment I'll never forget ...

Evergreen Island

By Quinn Bornstein

Grade 11, St. Johnsbury Academy

"It was a moment I'll never forget, my son, it was a moment I'll never forget."

My father leaned back in his chair, stretching his feet out in front of him and leisurely crossing one foot over the other, fingers woven underneath his head, his eyes staring, far off into the land of his past. I sat, cross-legged on the rug at his feet, the fire in the woodstove crackling comfortingly behind, bathing my back with a constant breath of heat. I looked up at him, my father, who seemed to have forgotten that I was there, and that I had begged him for a "fireside story" as my family called it. I learned later that this was not a term that my father himself had coined, as I had always thought as a child, but actually referred to FDR's Sunday evening radio broadcasts that my father undoubtedly listened to as a young boy, sitting on the floor at my grandfather's feet, just as I was sitting here at my father's. I gave him one last chance to snap out of his reverie on his own, then my impatience got the better of me.

"What moment, Dad?"

His face reluctantly came back to the present, his eyes unglazing like those of a swimmer surfacing for air.

"What? Oh, the moment I first saw the Evergreen Island. Did I ever tell you about that, Tim?

I shook my head no, eyes open wide like two blue saucers ...

Prompt: Eternal Night

The Shadows

By Brette Stone

Grade 5, Barnet Elementary School

One day, a 13-year-old girl named Amanda, opened her eyes and it was completely black as night.

When she looked out her window to the usual glittering lights of New York City, she only saw dark clouds swirling around the Empire State Building. Amanda soon heard the scream of her parents downstairs, in the living room. Soon the screaming stopped. Amanda said in a scared voice, "Hello?"

No one answered. Soon Amanda heard whispers on the other side of her door. Amanda took to her instincts and climbed out her window onto a small ledge. She looked at the distant street below. She swallowed and began to walk the edge with her back against the wall. She started to slide towards a pipe against the building, but she'd have to crawl past a window first.

Amanda closed her eyes and got to the pipe, but she saw something move at the bottom. When she could see it clearly, it was a shadow waiting for her to slide so it could grab her once she came down. Amanda heard a howl at the bottom.

A 13-year-old boy stood at the bottom and said, "You can come down now."

He had raven black, shaggy hair and glittering, blue eyes. His teeth showed a white smile. Amanda slid down the pipe. He jumped when he heard a howl and led Amanda to a tree.

To be continued ...

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