Bethel Park High School junior, Margaret Mateya
has won in the 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Regional Contest
for her short story, “Convenience Store,” about a nameless, genderless Chicago-based convenience store employee who develops a rapport with an eccentric regular named Olly Ollie.
One day, Ms. Ollie, who had revealed little about herself aside from her visceral hatred of scarecrows, informed the convenience store employee that she would soon be returning home to Mississippi but promised to keep in touch. After a few days of radio silence, the employee read the tragic news that Ms. Olly had in fact died by suicide by throwing herself in front of a moving train. The understandably upset protagonist reacted to the heartbreaking news by taking their frustrations out on the nearest scarecrow the protagonist could find.
Upon learning that she had won the regional contest, Metaya, who has wanted to write fiction since she was in middle school, immediately called her mother to share the wonderful news. “She was so excited for me because she knows how much I love to write,” she said.
With the win, Metaya’s short story has advanced to the national level, which will be announced on March 23, 2022.