On Sunday, April 9, some 350 guests gathered at the Eudora Welty House and Garden to honor the 189 winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards for the Mississippi Region. Winners included four national medalists, five American Voices Medal nominees, nine Senior Portfolio winners, 27 Gold Key winners, 119 Silver Key winners, and 157 Honorable Mention winners, with several students receiving multiple awards, according to Sally Birdsall, Scholastic coordinator for the Welty Foundation, pictured here.
Kiese Laymon, accomplished writer and professor of English and African American studies at the University of Mississippi, was the keynote speaker.
There were 781 entries from 566 students in the categories of Critical Essay, Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Humor, Journalism, Personal Essay/Memoir, Novel, Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Short Story. A complete list of Scholastic Writing Award winners may be downloaded here.
The four national winners included Shelly Castilaw, Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, Gold Medal in Flash Fiction for “Candlewax”, left; Matthew Dilworth, Murrah High School, Jackson, Silver Medal in Poetry for “Who Will Keep the Dream Alive Now?” shown below with teacher Sarah Ballard; and Sydney Lucero, Mississippi School of the Arts, Gold Medal in Flash Fiction for “Here Is the Church, Here Is the Steeple” and Silver Medal in Short Story for “As the Crow Flies,” shown reading from her work at the ceremony; and Camille Seymour (not pictured), Armstrong Middle School in Starkville, Silver Medal in Critical Essay for “Whatever Happened to the 15th Amendment?”
The American Voices honorees, shown below, included Simon Ladner, Ocean Springs High School; Matthew Dilworth, Murrah High School; Amory Campbell, Mississippi School of the Arts; Advikaa Anand, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School; and Camille Seymour (not pictured), Armstrong Middle School. Their remarkable work was recognized as best in the region and may be downloaded here.
Senior Portfolio winners and one of their teachers, shown above, included, from left, bottom row, Simon Ladner, Ocean Springs High School, Honorable Mention; Emily Hook, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Honorable Mention; Recebba Chen, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Honorable Mention; Dawson Johnson, Mississippi School of the Arts, Honorable Mention; top row, Emma Richardson, English teacher, Mississippi School for Math and Science; Wrishija Roy, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Silver Key; Madeleine Porter, Jackson Preparatory School, Silver Key; Kallye Smith, Simpson County Academy, Gold Key; and Reagan Poston, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Silver Key. Not pictured is Ava Richardson, Northwest Rankin High School, Honorable Mention.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world. The Eudora Welty Foundation is the state’s affiliate for the writing awards, working in partnership with the Eudora Welty House, a museum of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The Mississippi Museum of Art is the affiliate for the Scholastic art awards. Through the awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships.
The Scholastic Writing Awards program fulfills the educational missions of the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Eudora Welty House by honoring Welty’s wish that her home be used to inspire the creative endeavors of others, especially young and aspiring writers. Prior to the ceremony, students and their families were invited to a reception and toured the Welty House and Garden.
The C Spire Foundation is the regional sponsor of the Scholastic Awards program and enables the program to be offered statewide to students in public and independent schools as well as those in homeschool. More information about the C Spire Foundation may be found here.
Open to students in grades 7-12, the Mississippi Regional Scholastic Writing Awards program had winners from the following schools: Armstrong Middle School, Biloxi High School, Cathedral School, Clinton High School, Colmer Middle School, Corinth High School, Desoto Central Middle School, East Rankin Academy, Germantown High School, Hancock High School, Homeschool, Jackson Academy, Jackson Preparatory School, Lamar School, Madison Central High School, Mississippi School for Math & Science, Mississippi School of the Arts, Murrah High School, Northpoint Christian High School, Northwest Rankin High School, Ocean Springs High School, Petal High School, Piney Woods School, Power Academic & Performing Arts Complex, R. H. Long Middle School, Raymond High School, Rosa Scott School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Simpson County Academy, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, St. Martin High School, Tishomingo County High School, Vicksburg Catholic School, Washington School, West Harrison High School, and West Point High School.