Brandon Etzel has long enjoyed watching words come to life in stories that he pens. His writing efforts paid off recently when he was named Columbia County's Georgia Young Authors' Award winner.
As winner of the North Columbia Elementary School Georgia Young Authors' Award contest, Brandon advanced to the county competition, where he took top honors.
"My teacher just asked if anyone wanted to do it," said Brandon of entering the school-level contest. "I was the only one in the fourth grade to do it."
While students throughout the school participated with their own stories, it was Brandon's story that captivated the judges.
Brandon said he isn't really sure where the story about four young children whose drawings come alive came from.
"I was just thinking about it one day," said the 10-year-old son of Brian and Heather Etzel of Appling. "I was thinking that I wanted to write a book."
Brandon's writing interest likely stems from his love of reading. His mother said she started reading to her son when he was just an infant.
"I read to him really early," she said, adding that Brandon was reading fluently by the age of 4. "I like to read, too, so I guess I was blessed with that."
Mimi Sorrells, Brandon's fourth-grade teacher, said her student is a pleasure to teach.
"He is very conscientious about his work and always gives his best effort," said Sorrells. "Brandon loves to write just to be able to hear reactions when he shares his creative stories."
Sorrells said Brandon is respected by his peers because he is a leader and role model who exhibits such a positive attitude.
"However, he is a normal 10-year-old boy who enjoys video games and playing outside," she said.
Brandon agrees that drawing, writing, reading and playing video games are among his favorite pastimes. In the future, he thinks he'd like to possibly write books.
"I kind of want to do that," said Brandon, who will learn later this summer if his story will garner him a district and state win. Either way, he's pleased with what he's already accomplished.
"He was the winner of the third-grade contest last year," said his mother.
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