DALTON -- Nessacus Regional Middle School hosted the 32nd annual Berkshire County Seventh Grade Writing Contest on May 30.

Seventy-five students entered the contest from 10 schools: Lee Middle and High School, Lenox Memorial Middle and High School, Mount Everett Regional School, Reid Middle School, Herberg Middle School, Brayton Elementary School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Hoosac Valley Regional Middle and High School, St. Agnes Academy and the host school, Nessacus.

This year, students were prompted to write an essay on the theme of, "That Unforgettable Feeling," and the idea that, "Life is filled with wonderful moments that stay in our memories forever."

Herberg Middle School student Olivia Murphy won first place in the essay contest for her piece, "A Minute before Midnight," describing her anticipation of going on a camping trip.

The winner of the seventh grade literary magazine contest was Nessacus student Paige Looney. In her short story, "My Fourth Promise," Looney writes about a young Jewish woman named Leah who was captured along with her two brothers by the Nazis and brought to Auschwitz.

Contest judges included: Patrick West, James Armstrong, Tom Hatch, Linda Neville, Kathy Voltoline and Debra Belland. Norman Bissell served as the judge for entries into the seventh grade literary magazine.

The contest guest speaker was Kelly McIlquham, who formerly worked as a features editor and writer for The Advocate Weekly, and now owns and writes for BerkshireFamilyFocus.com and the blog, renaissance-mom.com. McIlquham is an alumna of Nessacus.

32nd annual Berkshire County Seventh Grade Writing Contest winners

First-place essay "Patrick M. West Award": Olivia Murphy of Herberg Middle School.

Five essay runners up: Nessacus students Avery Westervelt and Deanna Wood; Mount Greylock’s Karen McComish, and Hoosac Valley’s Gigi Daley and John Krol.

First-place essay "William Polidoro Award": Paige Looney of Nessacus Regional Middle School.

Two magazine runners up: Phoebe Carry of Lenox Memorial and Reid Middle School’s Kailey Sultaire.