Not only the sole winner from EDSS, he was the only winner from across the region in the 2016 Student Achievement Awards. The awards are a writing and creative arts competition open to all Ontarian public secondary school students. The awards were created in honour of Drysdale in 1984. She worked as a secretary for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation for 22 years.
Wray was named the regional winner in the 9-10 Applied/Essential category for Prose and Poetry.
This year’s theme was Laugh Out Loud.
Wray was encouraged by his teacher, Nanci Henderson, to send in a submission.
“She thought that it would be a good thing to do, so I went for it,” Wray said.
“When we went in there was a poster up on the board, I looked it over and saw anyone could go for it, so I thought hey why not? Way to jump out of my comfort zone.”
He says he also thought it would be good to add to his resume.
Rather than a story, it was more like an essay about the different types of laughs.
“At first I just went through all the types of laughs I know and then put a character or something that laugh would be put to, an evil person versus a hero,” Wray explained.
Each school was allowed to submit one entry per category for a total of five entries in the Prose and Poetry category, which was divided into 9-10 Applied/Essential, 9-10 Academic, 11-12 University, 11-12 College/Workplace, and 9-12 French.
Students could also submit visual arts and digital arts.
“This was a new adventure for me. I’m planning to do more writing in the future,” Wray said.
Submissions were due at the district level last November and then district winners moved onto the regional and provincial level in December. Winners were announced at the end of January and Wray wasn’t expecting it.
“It was surprising because it was the first big thing that I’ve got really close to winning,” Wray said.
Provincial winners receive $1,000 and get to attend the teachers’ federation general annual meeting where their work will be shown. Wray’s already looking forward to next year.
“I’m kind of into the essay writing now. I plan on doing more for next year’s awards,” Wray said.