Troy HS sophomore has short story published

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TROY – Jeylan Inlow didn’t listen to the voices filling her ears. Instead, she listened to the tiny voice in her heart, the one that told her she could do anything if she dreamed big and worked hard.

“I couldn’t believe that I could do that, because there have been people who said I couldn’t do something that amazing, but then I did it and you are able to prove people wrong,” said Inlow, who recently had a short story selected and printed in a Young Writers USA anthology book.

Last November, Inlow, who will be a junior at Troy High School when school opens in the fall, submitted a short story to the Young Writers USA competition. Her short story, entitled ‘The Dark’, was selected and printed in Young Writers SOS Sagas: Hunted, which asked young writers to “create their own thrilling mini saga – a story told in up to 100 words.”

Inlow had spent the previous two years looking for a place to have her work published. That’s when she went to Troy High School English teacher Irene Imboden for some advice.

“Ever since 2021, the summer of that year, I’ve always had a thing for writing. It was a big passion of mine, and it still is,” Inlow said. So I would write here and there, and I would show Mrs. Imboden. One day I came into her classroom and asked if she had any writing contests, because I knew she does that. She gave me the contest for that book and she was like, ‘Yeah, you can try this.’ So it was basically no less than 100 and no more than 100 words. It had to be exactly 100 words.”

While Inlow said she may have had her doubters, Imboden was never one of them.

“Jeylan was a student in my drama class last year and participated in the playwriting unit as part of that class,” Imboden said. “When she approached me this year about any upcoming writing contests, I remembered her work from last year and handed her the prompt for the Young Writers current contest. I knew it would be something she could excel in.

“Because I don’t have her in class this semester, I didn’t know if she took the opportunity. I was so shocked and surprised when she came up to me and told me that not only had she submitted a story, but that she had been selected for publication! I couldn’t be more proud of a student with both creativity and self-initiative!”

Inlow said Imboden’s support helped her along the way.

“She was a big help,” Inlow said. “She was one of the people that said I could do something like this.”

After submitting her story last November, Inlow didn’t hear anything until late March or early April, when she received a letter from the organization. Earlier this month, she got a copy of the book.

When she flipped open the book and saw her name next to the story she had written, Inlow felt one emotion above all others.

“I felt proud of myself,” she said.

With this boost in her confidence, Inlow said she wants to continue to pursue her dream of becoming a professional writer.

“Next year I’m planning to take CCP (College Credit Plus) English,” she said. “I want to be a writer when I grow up.”