Maverick Simon, aged 14 and a resident of Mound House in Carson City, Nevada was awarded two perfect scores in the high school division of the inaugural Mark Twain Days Writing Contest. This amazing accomplishment brought her Mom Tears of Joy.
In an Interview Roberta Simon, Maverick’s Mom, the 14-year-old adopted child who is on Autism Spectrum, loved to read Mark Twain’s stories that he would often be lost in his thoughts and imagination. This deep connection with the iconic author eventually paid off, as Maverick secured two perfect scores in the high school division of the inaugural Mark Twain Days Writing Contest.
The Day of the Contest
It all started in March when the youth of Carson City were given a chance to showcase their works inspired by the legendary Mark Twain. The participants were to compose a 500-word narrative such as an essay, story, or poem. Judges were looking for the ability to capture the spirit and essence of Mark Twain’s writing style – satirical, irreverent, evocative, or even silly at times.
In an Interview with Sierra Scott, the contest’s supervisor, he said that Maverick’s work was remarkable and resonated with all the judges.
“What the Judges were looking for was originality, top-notch writing skills, and structure, an appropriate connection to the theme of Mark Twain’s works, as well as some sort of technique or style that the author has used,” he said. “The piece by Maverick had all of it and more.”
Maverick anticipated a terrifying reception when he arrived, expecting to be surrounded by monsters ready to punish him for errors in his writing. However, he says that what he found was even more frightening – a group of politicians determined to make him their voter. The young writer described the collective as “a swindle,” as it is an apt way to refer to many politicians. His clever use of language and wit was something the judges highly appreciated.
Roberta Simons and her husband, Merrill, have been providing emergency shelter to their children throughout the years, all of whom have disabilities resulting from either fetal alcohol syndrome or drug abuse. This emotional and often challenging journey was made possible through the adoption process with the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.
Maverick’s passion for reading and writing
Roberta also expresses that Maverick has had a passion for reading and writing since he was young. “Roberta Expressed that from the onset, Maverick had a remarkable intellect and started reading extensively.” She says. “Nevertheless, staying motivated academically and succeeding in school proved to be challenging. After his elementary school principal became desperate for ways to help him and the library was bereft of adequate books for him to read, Maverick began reading the dictionary .”
The school was a unique experience for Maverick, according to Roberta. The contest made him feel pride in his accomplishments following countless days of joy and sorrow.
For example, Maverick expressed in his writing that the air of Hell was stimulating his lungs, causing him to gasp and wheeze. He noted how uninteresting the scenery was, with nothing but a desolate expanse of fire and ash extending for miles. The lack of anything interesting in sight made him fear he would die of boredom. “The landscape, too, is insufferably bland; nothing but fire and brimstone for miles.”
The profound descriptions, deep understanding of the subject, and clever wit that Maverick exhibited earned him two perfect scores in the contest. His accomplishment will be celebrated at the annual Mark Twain Days Festival on April 23rd.