Alyssa Urff – Outspoken Writer Wins Essay Competition


Avery Miller , Cougart Editor, Community Builder

Alyssa Urff, sophomore, had no idea that she was going to be presented an award when she sat down at the computer to start writing her persuasive essay about “Why Parks Need People”. During the middle of February, her Honors English teacher received an email about a young authors competition and decided to share it with the class. Urff was immediately interested and decided to seek more info. Urff explained why she decided to take part in the competition, “I decided to write because I am good at writing and I thought, why not. Plus I love nature and am a total Hippie.” 

After submitting her entry she got informed a few weeks later that she won second place for her excellent work, along with a $100 prize. Sunday March 11th, 2018 she was awarded her prize on stage at the annual Festival Of Books Fair hosted at the U of A. Along with Urff, the first place winner and the third place winner were also awarded on stage. First place got $250 dollars, 2nd place got $100 and third place got $50. Urff states, “They presented us with a plaque and gave us our checks. I even got offered a spot on an upcoming TV show and my work will be published in different spots.”

The winners’ essays were among 50 other essays submitted in the competition. It took much longer picking the winning submissions because the hosts weren’t expecting so many entries. The process to pick the best pieces included multiple judges reading the work. After they were down to about 20 submissions the essays were sent to standardized essay scorers. Then the top 5 pieces were sent to a National Parks Class at the U of A and the Professor along with the students voted on the winners. 

The featured author, Florence, who was at the event Sunday, writes for National Geographic, New York Times, Oprah, and other media outlets including her very own magazine.

After getting her reward Urff gushed, “I met a lot of new people and got my word out too. Both of the other winners were super nice and very well spoken. Overall it was a great experience.”