Seniors in Middle Grade Literature

Cover your ears because we’re about to toot our own horn!

In 2015, our Regional Director of Advertising Lisa Lewis Tyre published her first novel. You can read about how excited we were here.

One of the most beloved characters in her book, Last In A Long Line of Rebels, was a grandmother named Bertie and last year, Lisa decided to hold a short-story contest for middle schoolers. The name? The Bertie!

“I knew in first-grade that I wanted to write, but I had no idea how to go about actually making a career out of it,” Lisa said. “I love being able to tell students, ‘Yes, you can do this!”

The students had a 1500 word limit and had to include one character that was at least 65 years old. Which is when we got involved.

“We loved the idea of young students incorporating a senior citizen in their stories, “ said John Rauls, Vice-President of Winnwood. “As soon as Lisa mentioned the idea, I asked how we could help.”

The contest was split into two categories, a 10 and 11-year-old bracket, and another for 12 and 13-year-olds. Winnwood Retirement sponsored the contest and gave Tyre $600.00 dollars in prize money to disperse.

Short-Story Contest Winners From Sammy McClure Middle-School

The contest was open to any middle-schooler in the US and winning entries came from Illinois, Florida, and Georgia.

“I don’t ask on the form where the students are from,” Tyre said, “so I didn’t realize that four winners were from Sammy McClure until I started collecting addresses to mail the checks. I was excited to deliver those personally.”


Sammy McClure MS Principal Jaynath Hayes, Skylurr Hall, Kennedy Goggins, Lisa Lewis Tyre, Reagan Sweany, and Elyse Carney

Congratulations to all of the winners! We are honored to support this awesome contest. If you want to volunteer and meet your own Bertie, come and see us!