The Allegan Area Arts Council sponsored this year's contest and also picked this cover, by Carlie VanKlompenberg, to win the design contest.The Tiger Tales first-place winners are above (from left) Kate Stanloski, Carlie VanKlompenberg, Kylie DeKryger, Karissa Barnes and Marisa Henrickson.All the winners of each category, who were present at the awards ceremony, are pictured here.

Photos and Excerpts from Allegan High School's winning Tiger Tales pieces

Kayla Deneau, Staff Writer

Out of nearly 400 entries, the 20 pieces chosen to be included in Allegan High School’s 2014 Tiger Tales Anthology were announced at the school’s May 2 awards ceremony.

The contest began 16 years ago; this will be the 13th published anthology.
High school creative writing teacher Nancy Hascall, who was named one of the top writing instructors in the state by Albion College, is heavily involved in the contest.
Hascall said she was excited to see participation across all grade levels with two freshmen placing in the competition.
The anthology awards excelence in essays, short stories, personal narratives and poetry. Awards are also given for cover designs for the anthology, designed by Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center new media students.
North Ward Elementary School first-grade teacher Ed Spicer was emcee at the ceremony and was one of several judges from the community.
“It was another year of great writing and fabulous cover illustrations,” Spicer said during the ceremony. “Some will be thrilled with the choices and some not so much. We invite you to second guess and argue our decision. In my opinion, that is the best part.
“The writings led to intense debates among the judges and we are proud of what we selected.
“My most heartfelt thanks go to the authors and artists. The strength (of this contest) is not in names, but in the sheer number of students who take the time to risk sharing a piece of themselves.”
Here are some excerpts of the winners. To read the full piece, pick up a copy of the 2014 Tiger Tales anthology. 


1st Place: Kylie DeKryger


What is a hero? Most people just think of a made up character that can fly and possesses super strength, but in the real world, a hero is completely different. A hero is a hard worker, a selfless servant, and a wise person with integrity. My grandma, Jean Beyer, is a prime example of this kind of hero.  

Every memory I have of my grandma involves her working hard at serving her family and community, selflessly playing games with her grandchildren, and bringing wisdom and a positive outlook to quarrels and other tough situations in life. For example, when my brothers and I get irritated with each other, my grandma brings the peace by teaching us how to compromise.


Personal Narrative

1st Place: Kate Stanloski

“A Foothold in Divine Terrain”

Notre Dame was filled with searchers that day. They filed in from the

steaming Parisian streets: tourists flashing their cameras and

dampening their bored children’s howls, the devout assembling their

bodies upon prayer benches like genuflecting paper dolls. For my part,

I straddled the two categories inelegantly, crawling along the ancient

walls with the weight of a DSLR hanging from my neck, clumsily unsure

of divine terrain while also far too familiar with it.


For my part, I had come in search of escape. I was sure the

intoxicating fizz of new places would change me, fill my mind like a

helium balloon and lift it somewhere just as fresh and foreign. And,

having been bled dry by my plodding everyday life among the cornfields

of the midwest, I was ravenous for that escape as I stepped within the

cathedral’s living stone walls that day.


“Ahem--oh, pardon me, dear,” the old woman beside me murmured in

French. Her rattling cough doubled her over as she swayed feebly onto

my shoulder, like the chords falling from the massive organ above us.

I helped her right herself back onto those uncertain legs and assured

her it was pas un problème. But, unable to stifle my curiosity, I

dissolved into the crowd behind her and watched as she tottered up to

an immense figure of the crucified Christ hanging from a wall. A euro

coin fell from her hand and plinked gently into the donation box

below, as she chose from among the diminutive prayer candles laid

before that pale Savior’s feet. As she plucked one out and set it

aflame, I wondered why she had come to the ancient cathedral that day.

I wondered what she was searching for. Her unassuming gesture seemed

so complex and full of a mute hope, steeped in tradition while praying

for some kind of change.



1st Place: Marisa Henrickson


She was made

from your flesh and your bones;


of your skin and your blood.

Her neurons were once your neurons;

your minds were the same.


But you made the urge a folly

of the way her body formed--

            the fullness in her lips

                        and the way her hair reached

the small of her back.


And perhaps it was an offense

unforgivable but


I thank God

for the indulgence

of the forbidden fruit;

for the sin that stains

in hues across my skin;

for the sweetest touch of death

which blooms life.


So, I cannot say,


as the serpent weaves its

limbless body

along the ridges of my spine,


that I would not have done the same.



When grandfather left


I watched his wife
who had loved him for the past fifty years
leave the room                         the state                                    the country,

repeating his name the entire time


And when my brother left
for his college apartment

but only reached the highway
guardrail at 82 miles an hour
I watched my family
as they solemnly swore to a bitter silence,
replacing their words with empty tears


And when father left mother

because he blamed her



I watched our worlds implode in a

slur of sins and profanities.

There were words said that can never be taken back.

But when it was time for you to go
I watched myself hold your skin so tightly,
wishing for a moment that
something between us would ignite
and melt my skin to yours
so that the miles could not

tear me from you.


But there were no words I could say to make you stay.

So I just lay there
listening to the walls echo
a final whisper:



Short Story

1st Place: Karissa Barnes

“Delicious Francine”

My poor, often misunderstood mother was a very lonely lady. So many people have tried to get her out more, to see the world, to hear the new joys and laughter in town, or to smell the freshly baked breads outside of the city limits. But no one could get through to her to explore life. Miss Francine only left the cozy but affordable house to attend her beautiful rose garden in the back yard. I had always loved the shade the rose bushes gave off; I could have slept there for days.        

 I noticed everything new about my mother. She was my life. Most mornings she would complain about shoulder pains. I tried warning her, to let her know that I could sense something was wrong, but of course she only shooed me away. I dreaded and paced for days trying to figure out a way to get her help. My opportunity came right up under my nose. The little girl across the street could help me! I raced out of the house and tugged her inside. I couldn't have thanked the lucky stars enough! My mother was pleased and asked for assistance. The little girl called some number and set up a house appointment so Miss Francine could get help for her constant, unbearable shoulder pain.         

The following week, her appointment showed up right on time. I was told to wait patiently out in the other room because I seemed to always get in the way. Time. Felt. So. Slow. Waiting. Forever. I dozed off on the couch until around dinner time.         

Several weeks had gone by since the appointment. Most of her pain was gone, which was extraordinary. The wonderful candy man dressed in white came by every now and again to check up on her. He handed my mother yellow bottles of candy. I always wanted a couple, but she never offered them to me.        

 One early morning, I was awakened by a gigantic crash. I instantly sprung myself to the scene of the collision. There she was, out cold on the bathroom floor. I cried and barked at her, but there wasn't even a tiny sliver of movement in those old bones. I lay next to her to keep her warm. Hours passed by and I had no idea what to do. I waited next to the window for any walker, but the streets were bare.        

The next day, she was still lying on the hard tile! I couldn't believe it! My belly couldn't take this stress. It had been rumbling since my poor mother fell. The candy! I rushed to her nightstand  to help myself, but, the darn container wouldn't let any candy come out. I it chewed open in about an hour or so, but there weren’t any left! My mother must have eaten them all without me! Upset, hungry, and mad, I wandered back to my mother.          It was probably night time when I choose to do it, the unacceptable deed. Now, I think back and realize what I did was a very awful thing.         

As my mother lied there motionless, I started licking her face. The day-old make-up really didn’t taste that bad. I just kept licking. Eventually, the make-up was all gone, but my tummy wasn’t even close to the satisfaction of being full. Slowly, my teeth started to gnaw on my mother’s nose. I never thought she would be so scrumptious. I chewed her nose clean off and gulped it down, exposing the disfigured cartilage underneath. I had only just begun.


For full story, pick up a copy of the May 22 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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