MSHS freshman wins national writing contest

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta High School's Jordan Pavlic won the national Natural High writing contest by describing her healthy addiction to running.  Photo by Skye Kinkade

Instead of spending the $300 she won in a national essay contest on herself, Mount Shasta High School freshman Jordan Pavlic plans to purchase running equipment and send it to kids in Jamaica who can’t afford it themselves.

“I love track,” Jordan said Thursday afternoon. “The sense of accomplishment I feel after a race can’t be described.”

She did her best to do just that in her essay, in which she says running track is her own “natural high.”

The essay was part of an assignment she wrote for Cristin Harryman’s freshman English course, when they were studying health. She got extra credit for submitting it into the Natural High essay contest.

Natural High is a La Jolla-based nonprofit drug abuse prevention organization that helps youth discover, amplify and pursue their natural high so they have a reason to say no to an artificial high.

Jordan’s entry won first place nationwide for 9-12 graders, said Harryman, and she has a one in four chance at being selected the grand prize winner, which would earn her a trip to San Diego for the Natural High Gala.

Jordan, who is considering a career in journalism, said she was surprised to get the email last week notifying her of the win. She’ll find out if she’s the grand prize winner by June 30.

She decided to use the $300 to purchase running equipment for Jamaican children because her dad is the defensive coach and director of football operations at New Mexico Highlands University. The track coach there is from Jamaica, and he can help disburse the equipment as he sees fit, Jordan explained.

The feelings running stirs in her is something she wants to share with others, Jordan said.

In her essay, she describes the thrill and feeling of accomplishment like this: “The gun goes off and my body takes control as I am pulled forward in an instinctual current that my muscles seem to have memorized. All my previous worries are forgotten and I let go of everything pent up inside and translate it to the track for the 30 seconds I have to run two hundred meters. The swinging motion of my arms matches perfectly with the pounding of my legs and I smile to myself as I pass all the blurs of red in my peripheral vision. With ease I leave the curve for the last hundred meters of my race. When I cross the finish line, in first, the feeling that consumes me can’t even be described on paper. All I can say is that I was overwhelmed by what can only be described as bliss. No drug could ever match that feeling.”

Jordan said if she can convey to others how it feels to have something you love which helps you avoid the temptation of drugs and also improves quality of life, “then I’ll know I’m doing something right.”

To learn more about Natural High and their programs, go to