Contest E: Feature Writing


You have 32 hours to write a feature story using the information below. The story should be approximately 350 words. With the aid of computers this year, we are able to enforce this. Please do not write longer than the word limit.

Please use the information provided below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and/or the Associated Press style manual. Only entries submitted online will be accepted. No exceptions will be made to this rule.

When you submit, you will simply be submitting plain text. Formatting such as italics, bold and underline will not transfer. Also, paragraph breaks will not transfer. To show the judge your intention to create a paragraph break, please use this double-backslash symbol: //  For instance, a passage with two paragraph breaks would look like this:

The school board reversed the policy with an 11-1 vote. // “I disagreed with the decision, but I lost this time,” said board president Yvonnes Nulton. // The policy will go into effect at the start of next school year.



This contest is meant to be completed individually. Please refrain from seeking help from others while completing this contest.

Failure to follow these directions may result in disqualification from the contest without refund. Please read and follow carefully. 

  1. Read over the prompt presented below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story.
  2. While writing, you may use resources like the AP Stylebook, an online style guide or a dictionary/thesaurus. 
  3. Use whatever technology works best for you while writing your draft. This could be pencil and paper, your cell phone, your computer, etc. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
  4. Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
  5. Type up the final version of your story and submit it here.
  6. Please do not share your draft, notes or ideas about the prompt with others until the 32-hour window closes.

Here is a link to this contest’s judging rubric.


You are a member of Sunflower High School’s journalism staff. Your editor has asked you to write a feature story with the information provided.


  • Name: Sunflower High School
  • Location: Clinton, Kansas
  • Mascot: Mighty Buffalo
  • Enrollment: 800 (grades 9-12)
  • School colors: yellow and brown
  • Yearbook: The Sunflower
  • Newspaper: Sunflower News

Contest Info

  • This is an on-site contest. 
  • Do not put your name on the entry. If you do, your entry will be disqualified.
  • Students must not request help or advice from any person other than the KSPA Executive Director Eric Thomas at [email protected], and that advice must be requested before the start of the contest.
  • All work must be solely that of the contestant.

Prompts will be visible at 3 p.m. April 17.

Contest E

Juniors Maya Kennedy and Theo Smith are in a relationship but can’t see each other due to COVID-19 quarantine

From interview with junior Maya Kennedy:

  • “Theo and I have been dating for about eight months. Before all this coronavirus stuff, we used to hang out like every other day. We’d hang out at debate practice, at each other’s houses, we’d go get smoothies after school. It’s weird not hanging out like usual.”
  • “Since we’ve been quarantined, we Facetime usually a couple of times a day. My mom gets annoyed that I’ve been constantly on the phone, but being in my house with nowhere to go gets boring.”
  • “I think being apart like this could be good for us. It’ll show us the strength of our relationship. It’s sort of like long-distance.”
  • “Theo and I met in English class last year. We got partnered up for a class project and we really hit it off. He took me on my first date ever. We got pizza and went bowling. He’s a really great boyfriend.”
  • “Our favorite things to do are watch movies, go to the mall, and hang out with our other friends. We get along really well and we rarely argue.”
  • “It’s weird not hanging out with Theo like normal. Sometimes I feel like he’d rather be doing something else when we’re on Facetime, like playing his video games or something.”

From interview with junior Theo Smith:

  • “Since we’ve been in self-isolation, we Facetime often and Snapchat most of the day. It’s weird not hanging out in person like we usually do, but technology helps.”
  • “When we hang out in person we usually watch movies. Since we’re stuck at home, we decided to watch the same movie on Netflix and press play at the exact same time. Then afterward we got on Facetime and talked about the movie. It was a cool experience.”
  • “This situation makes me feel for people who are in long-distance relationships long-term. It must be tough to do all this constantly.”
  • “We’re trying to come up with creative ways to connect. I think we’re going to try playing cards or a board game via Facetime, or connect on a video game and play against each other. We just want to have fun with each other still even in these scary times.”
  • “We’re both scared about the virus. We’re worried about our grandparents and our friends. It’s hard to be worried about everything and have to worry about our relationship as well.”

From interview with Eliza Smith, Theo’s mom:

  • “Theo and Maya have a nice relationship. They hang out a lot. I’m glad Theo has found a nice girl.”
  • “I like Maya a lot, but it’s been nice having Theo home with the family during this time of self-isolation. We’ve been hanging out as a family, which has been great.”
  • “They’ve been using Facetime to talk to one another. The way that technology has evolved is crazy. It would’ve been so different if this had happened while I was in high school. If I wanted to stay in touch with my boyfriend like Maya and Theo do, I would’ve run the phone bill sky high.”

From interview with junior Rachael Pollack, Maya’s friend:

  • “Maya and Theo are like . . . couple goals. They are always laughing and having a good time together.”
  • “Maya and I have Facetimed a couple of times and she said she and Theo have been talking constantly and using technology to keep their relationship fun. I think it’s really cool that they’re really trying to stay connected even when they can’t be together.”
  • “I think it’s great that Maya and Theo can still essentially ‘hang out’ online during quarantine. They’re lucky they have such a great relationship and they don’t get tired of each other.”

Facts from your research:

  • Maya and Theo have been dating since July 17, 2019.
  • The couple met in Lily Ryan’s honors English class in their sophomore year. They were partners on a presentation project for the book “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck.
  • Before the coronavirus outbreak, Maya and Theo had weekly date nights.
  • Maya and Theo live on opposite ends of the town of Clinton, which is about a 15-minute drive between their houses.
  • Maya and Theo are both on the debate team and the track team. They are not debate partners — Maya is partners with junior Mallory Hawkins and Theo is partners with sophomore Vanessa Brill. Maya and Mallory qualified for debate nationals last year.
  • On the track team, Maya runs the mile, the two-mile, and the mile relay. Theo is a long jumper and high jumper. Theo got third place at state in the high jump last year.
  • On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that all Kansas K-12 schools will be closed through the end of the spring semester. All spring events and athletics will not occur as scheduled.
  • Maya and Theo have the same picture from the homecoming dance as their phone backgrounds.