WEBB CITY, Mo. — A Webb City High School senior is having a big month… and graduation is just part of the list. She’s getting a high-level honor which is helping her to connect with an important piece of her past.

“The message was powerful – I felt like it was important. I felt like it captured the heart of who she is. And to me the power of that piece meant that it had to be submitted for a contest,” said Stephany Kelley, WCHS Teacher.

It’s the article Brecklyn Matthews wrote for a class at Webb City High School about her adoption story.

“At first I was like, you know, I probably shouldn’t write about this like I, I’m uncomfortable sharing my story,” said Brecklyn Matthews, WCHS Senior.

Which showed in the rough draft.

“It was fairly surface and I said, ‘If you’re going to go there, go there. Like, let’s really explore this.’ And she did that,” said Kelley.

The final version won a spot in the Crowder Quill magazine — and a chance to compete in the Quill and Scroll International Writing Contest. And it meant a much wider audience for a very personal part of her life.

“Quill and Scroll, they gave me a chance to kind of put my story out there and let people know like, who I was, like what have been through,” said Brecklyn.

Brecklyn’s writing earned Quill and Scroll recognition, but it also earned her something much less tangible.

“I got a lot of different emails in my email box from the school, people like the nurse emailed me – like ‘thank you for writing this. Like my son’s from the same country you’re from like, it was really great for me to share this.’ My freshman gym teacher emailed me about just congratulating me. And then walking through the halls, like, my teachers were like, ‘Hey, congratulations,'” she said.

And while Brecklyn loves her adoptive family – she had always wondered about her birth family in Taiwan. Exposure from the article and the Quill and Scroll led the adoption agency to connect them.

“Had the opportunity to you know, write back and forth with my real family. And I found out I have like four brothers and three sisters all older than me, One’s a nurse, one works in the army. And so it was cool to know that like my writing was the first step to walking something bigger,” said Brecklyn.