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Ventura, Iowa, Student Wins Inaugural Writing Contest

Jason Eck

A Ventura (Iowa) High student is the winner of an inaugural high school writing contest sponsored by the Waldorf College literary journal “Crusader.” Angel Heller, a sophomore at Ventura High School, will have her poem “Hold Me” published in this year’s edition of the journal, which will be available in April from the Waldorf English Department.

Heller, 15, who lives in Clear Lake, Iowa, said she couldn’t believe her poem was chosen as the winner.

“I was shocked, really,” she said. “I was really happy.” Angel explained that her inspiration for the poem came from a friend who is going through some tough issues. “ ‘Hold Me’ stood out due to Heller’s ability to openly navigate the complex landscape of teenage angst without buying into clich├ęs or devolving into complaint,” said Lauren Trembath-Neuberger, editor of the “Crusader.” “Her plainspoken, metaphor-driven language invites the reader into the tumultuous world of the poem, and instead of railing against the world for its unfairness, she forces the reader to remember how truly difficult it can be to move from childhood to adulthood.”

Judges reviewed many entries of prose and poetry from high school students across northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

“Crusader” is edited and designed by advanced creative writing students at Waldorf. The publication works to further the intellectual and artistic conversation at Waldorf by publishing the strongest, most-vital creative work from across the campus community, Trembath-Neuberger said. The contest was started to allow high school students to contribute to the magazine.

Waldorf, a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1903, delivers engaging experiences through innovative classroom instruction. The college offers residential and online bachelor’s degree programs such as music, theater, business, fire science administration and criminal justice administration.