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Carlynton High School senior to receive National Gold Medal

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Good natured and good humored, Lana Meyer is nothing but humble when she talks about the fact that she'll be honored at Carnegie Hall in just a few weeks — a feat not many can claim at just 17.

Meyer, a senior at Carlynton High School, won the National Gold Medal in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition in the dramatic script category for her screenplay “Roost.”

“Roost,” she said, focuses on a female chicken farmer in the midst of the Great Depression in rural Texas who is trying to support her farm through the hard times.

“I've always wanted to write about desperate people,” she said, “so this seemed like the natural way to go. You can't get more desperate than rural Texas.”

Meyer will be honored at Carnegie Hall in New York City May 31.

“I've never been to New York, so this is a good excuse to finally see the city,” she said.

Meyer has won different writing awards around Pittsburgh, and she has won gold at the regional level of the scholastic competition, but this is her first national award.

“It's pretty exciting,” she said.

Meyer said she started making up stories when she was six or seven, and she hasn't stopped since.

“I've been writing a lot longer than I haven't been writing,” she said. “I've been writing pretty much since I could write a sentence.”

Meyer said her screenplay is different than her normal style, though her writing can be “all over the place.” She said she focuses mainly on short stories and other forms of prose, though she became interested in playwriting about two years ago.

The senior is headed to Middlebury College in Vermont in the fall, where she plans to major in English American literature.

“Honestly, I'm just going to see when I get there,” she said. “There's so much I'm interested in. But I'm sure it will be something with writing.”

National winners of the competition were announced online March 29. Meyer was in school, but said she couldn't wait until the end of the day to find out – she took her cell phone to the bathroom and checked the results online using her phone.

The hardest part, she said, was returning to her psychology class and trying to contain her excitement.

“I know how tough the odds are,” she said. “It's a very small number of people who win. There was no way I was going to wait until the end of the day.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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