1 of 3
Allie Jeppson

Wishes of gifts they'd like to give came from high school students across the state for the Deseret News' seventh annual John Hughes Young Writers Contest.

Be it world peace, being home for Christmas, health, prosperity and fortune or a myriad of other things that make the world smile, such as puppies, laughter and favorite foods, high school juniors and seniors wrote up to 1,000 words on the "Gift I'd Like to Give," the theme of this year's contest. Inspiration for each essay came from various experiences, observations or opinions of the students. They were written to showcase talent and give the youths a voice.

"We value good, clear writing and the careful thought that such writing requires," Deseret News editor Joe Cannon said. "Encouraging and recognizing such efforts among high school students continues, we believe, to be a worthy goal."

It was a challenge for Deseret News editors to select a winning trio from the many creative entries submitted this year, but first place goes to Olivia Maude Lee, a senior at Timpview High School, who wrote about giving the world hope through the comfort of music. She receives a $1,000 savings bond.

Second-place winner Danielle Leavitt, a senior at Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, wants to be able to see into people's hearts to know what they think and feel, much like a Ukrainian woman she encountered. Leavitt takes home a $500 savings bond.

Allie Jeppson, a Wasatch High School senior, won third place and a $250 savings bond with her essay. Jeppson wants to become a journalist and believes the best gift she could give the world is information. She wrote about several reporters who have made a difference telling stories from around the world.

More about the winners and their award-winning essays will be published in a future edition of the Deseret News.

The Deseret News thanks all students who participated in the contest and encourages them all to keep writing, Cannon said.

e-mail: [email protected]