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Discovery’s Hampton earns first-place kudos in creative writing

Johnathan Hampton, an eighth-grader at Discovery Middle School, was first-place winner for short story in the Young Writers Contest, sponsored by Huntsville Literary Association. (CONTRIBUTED)
Johnathan Hampton, an eighth-grader at Discovery Middle School, was first-place winner for short story in the Young Writers Contest, sponsored by Huntsville Literary Association. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Johnathan Hampton, an eighth-grader at Discovery Middle School, earned first place for the short story division in the Young Writers Contest, sponsored by Huntsville Literary Association.

“We’re so proud and happy for this outstanding young man,” Jennifer Dahlke said. Dahlke teaches creative writing at Discovery.

Due to contest rules, Dahlke could only offer general constructive assistance. “Mrs. Dahlke has always told our class one thing to do: to show and not just tell” so the reader visualizes what is happening, Hampton said.

Hampton likes short stories for “a challenge to develop a well-defined plot under a restricted word count. Readers enjoy short pieces, because they aren’t too long to the point to where they get boring.”

Hampton’s award-winning story, “Seasons’ Counsel,” concerns Max, a boy who has lost his father. “After that, everything spiraled downwards,” Hampton said. After setting an “emotional wall” against his mother and sister, Max meets all four seasons.

“Each (season) taught him aspects of themselves that he could use as guidance for a better future,” Hampton said.

In “Season’s Counsel,” Hampton wrote, “You know, lad, sometimes you have to be like the branches of the trees — sway with the wind, if you know what I mean. Life isn’t all about working until you drop, nor is it about slacking off all day. You see, the branches sway, but they don’t break.”

At Discovery, Hampton participates in National Junior Honor Society. He earned the Principal’s Award for his 4.0 GPA, Student of the Month, President’s Education Award for Outstanding Excellence and awards in math and French.

His parents are John and Vananda Hampton. He works as in-school suspension teacher at Discovery. She works at NASA.

Johnathan enjoys reading, writing, drawing, biology and botany. This summer, he is volunteering at Madison Public Library.

At an awards ceremony on May 3 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Johnathan received an engraved recognition plate and $100.

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