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Fulton Senior Wins Oz-Stravaganza! Writing Contest with “The Poppies”

The “poppy scene” is already a famous moment in the beloved “Wizard of Oz,” but for Fulton senior Danielle Mackey it was a winning source of inspiration. Mackey recently earned first place and the Judge’s Choice Award in the Oz-Stravaganza! Royal Historian of Oz Writing Contest for her short story “The Poppies.”

Mackey was made aware of the contest in her Horror in Literature class, taught by Ami LaDuc. “I didn’t think anything of it except that it was a really cool idea,” she said remembering her initial thoughts.

The contest asked participants to craft a short story of 600 words within the setting of the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. The contest was one of many activities associated with the Oz-Stravangaza festival in Chittenango, NY.

Several of LaDuc’s students participated in the contest. Fellow senior Paige Phillips also earned a prize for her own story, “The First Meeting.”

Mackey’s entry focused on the famed flowers and their perspective of Dorothy’s adventures. “I always like to be unique in what I write,” said Mackey. “I try and think ‘did somebody already do this?’ I don’t want my reader to just read the same thing over and over again.”

The unique perspective paid off, winning Mackey the first-place prize for the Grade 9-12 division and the honor of the Judge’s Choice Award. Mackey admitted she was surprised by the win.

“Ms. LaDuc pulled me out of class and told me in the hallway that I won,” she recalled. “I ended up walking back in all shaky but with a huge smile on my face. I was really excited and I just couldn’t believe it.”

On June 4, Mackey will be awarded prizes while her story is read aloud by a special guest at the Oz-Stravangaza festival.