Braxton Citizens' News, Community

Local teen wins international Church of God competition

By Shirley Shuman

Kaylee Criner, a 2023 graduate of Braxton County High School, recently won first place in one category in the Church of God International Teen Talent Competition. In the competition held in Cleveland, Tennessee, from July 31 to August 4, more than 1,000 teens from 36 states and five countries competed. Criner won first place in the Multimedia Video Short Clip category with a superior rating.

The Church of God Teen Talent Competition aims to help young people ages 13-19 to discover their talents, develop their talents, and dedicate them to better service to the Lord, according to their online source. Students competed in different categories such as music, art, drama, multimedia, creative writing, and Bible.

Through regional, state, and international competition, the Church of God strives to lead young people “in an exciting program of competition that sparks excitement about God’s talent gifts and helps to cultivate qualities of character for adventurous Christian living.”

Criner explained that, to qualify for the international competition, she first had to win the state competition. Her video clip came as the result of her attending Winterfest, a Church of God teen conference held at Pigeon Fork, Tennessee, the first week of March 2023. While there, Criner video-taped scenes from the various activities in which attendees participated. During the following week, she combined and edited the videos she had shot for the clip which she entered in the state contest  the next weekend. There, she received superior ratings and won her category and the opportunity to compete in the international competition held during the summer.

Following the week-long competition came what she termed a “surprise.”  She explained that she was uncertain about winning, and when her name was announced, she had trouble believing she had won. “It was unreal. I had problems realizing that first place was mine,” she explained.

Criner is headed for Marshall University this fall to study secondary education. She plans to teach history.