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Can you tell a story in just six words?

March 3, 2022 — Can you tell a story in just six words? Students were tasked with that challenge in NMH’s annual six-word story contest, held during the winter term. “Brevity is indeed the soul of wit,” said English teacher John Corrigan, paraphrasing Shakespeare. “There is nothing more challenging than telling a fully-realized story — one with a beginning, a middle, and an end — in six words.”

As NMH’s director of the student writing program, Corrigan founded the contest three years ago, inviting students to submit as many “stories” as they could come up with. The contest was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famously evocative yet brief narrative: For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn. 

With that and other examples in mind, students across campus got to work. More than 50 students submitted stories to the contest, and many of them submitted as many as five or six stories for consideration. After much debate and deliberation among a group of faculty and staff judges, a winner was chosen from each grade.

  • Nine years later, your memory lingers. – Aura Barinas ’22
  • Junior year. Midnight. No internet access. – Marvin Yang ’23
  • She left him a scrunched-up killer. – Sofiia Tiapkina ’24
  • Go ahead. Underestimate me. We'll see. – Brooke Hindinger ’25

Corrigan says the annual contest provides a way to promote the literary arts in a time-friendly format that accommodates students’ schedules. “I thought this would stretch our students, and it did,” he said.