Results Are In! The Writing Contest Winner Is….


Amy Steward

2022 writing contest winner freshman Kaia Dragomir.

ChargerInk.’s writing contest ended on October 28th. The winning submission, “Dear Leningrad,” was written by freshman Kaia Dragomir and is published below. The ChargerInk. staff would like to thank Kaia Dragomir as well as everyone else who submitted their writing to the contest for their hard work and creativity!

Read her winning work below:


Leningrad, January 1942

My dear Leningrad… how far you’ve fallen! Once, you were a vibrant city full of life and love and dreams… now you have been reduced to nothing but hollowed buildings and hollow people, nothing but suffering and hunger…

My face is pierced by the sharp winter winds as I crouch in a snow-covered ditch, an old picnic basket full of arrows beside me, patiently waiting to be nocked in my bowstring. Though the dry air all but numbs my limbs — as I have nothing but a nightgown and a thin coat on–the thought that the Germans are having a harder time in the Russian winter than the natives of the country they’ve overrun gives me a small twinge of satisfaction. 

It is night, and the starless sky blankets the trees in robes of depthless shadows. It is harder to see at night, and I would have a better chance of hitting my mark in the daylight; but, the night is my friend now, keeping me unseen while I hunt. 

The Germans are here, night and day. In the dawn of morning, they prowl with their flashlights and dogs and guns, and I am completely vulnerable, like a rabbit in a forest of wolves. This is why Night and I have made a deal…she will hide me from their wrath, and I will reap her land. 

Even then, what I do is a matter of life or death. Every move has to be carefully calculated, every draw of my bow soundless. 

If I take one wrong step, they will find me. 

If I miss my mark, they will hear me. 

If I so much as make the noise of my eyelashes brushing my lids, they will know I’m here and I will never be seen again. 

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it’s all worth it; that my nightly struggle here in the deep forest is not for nothing. 

My family, my people, is why I am out here, night after night. We have been surrounded by the Germans, and food for our city dwindles every day as the Germans circle us and alienate us from the world. 

There’s nothing one can do to stop the endless cycle of death and starvation. It will come for everyone eventually. 

A small hare skittishly bounds in the snow. I slowly nock my arrow, and my arms tense as I line up the blade for the kill. The hare stiffens, its ears pricking up, suddenly alert. 

I release the arrow, and it shoots straight into the hare’s downy fur. The frenzied hare attempts to flee, burrowing itself into the ground. Blood seeps through the snow; I’ve hit my mark. 

Though it makes as much difference as a droplet in a river, I have stalled the starvation of my people a moment longer.

My plight, in the last year, has been an endless cycle of hiding, hunting, shooting, hitting the mark… but now, at least I know I will have made a difference. 

                                           —Miriam Poprova