Margaret Mateya wins the Gold Key for her short story “Convenience Store”


Ana Winowich

Margaret Mateya won a Gold Key award for her short story “Convenience Store.”

Junior Margaret Mateya won a Gold Key for the 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Regional program. She is the only student from BPHS that won.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Program is a national contest where young writers (13 and up) can submit their artwork or writings. Students can win Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention.

This competition is a very prestigious nationwide program. Gold and Silver Key winners automatically move on to the national level. The Gold Key is the highest you can win, and that is what Mateya won.

Mateya had to meet the deadline by Dec. 6. She was shocked to receive the amazing news that she won the Gold Key for her recent short story called “Convenience Store.”  She also wrote another short story “Leodore” but didn’t win anything for that. Her story was in the National Catalog. 

Her story “Convenience Store” is about a nameless and genderless character who works in a convenience store owned by their uncle.  The story is a flashback to when the character was in high school. The story has a first-person point of view. It is based in Chicago.

Mateya said, “I always have an idea of what I wanna write about but I never plan. I just use whatever comes to my head to fit with the idea.” 

“The story only took me one day to write and then one day to edit. The story is four and a half pages long,” Mateya said.  “I didn’t expect to win anything because I only submitted two stories.”

Mateya writes a lot in her free time. She is currently working on writing a play.

When asked what inspired her idea, she said, “I had a character that I always wanted to write about but it took her forever to get it right.”

She also mentioned that she never thought about naming the character either. She just always thought of writing about this character. The idea of the convenience store just came to her as she wrote.

There is also an opportunity for winners to read their short stories on the radio. She will have an opportunity to do this, but the date is unknown.

Mateya will advance to the national level which will be announced on March 23. From here she can win a scholarship.