Mississippi’s Poet Laureate, Beth Ann Fennelly, an acclaimed author and professor/director of the Master of Fine Arts Program at the University of Mississippi, was the keynote speaker at the Scholastic Writing Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 15, on the lawn of the Eudora Welty House and Garden when 192 winners were honored with 327 awards. A complete list of award winners may be downloaded here. Fennelley is shown here with special guest National Student Poet Annie Castillo on the front porch of the Welty House.
The 2018 Mississippi Regional Scholastic Writing Awards Program received 1,177 entries from 579 students across the state, a record number, reports Sally Birdsall, Scholastic Program Coordinator. The program is supported by a generous grant from the C Spire Foundation and is administered by the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Welty House and Garden.
Awards included 72 Gold Keys, 131 Silver Keys, and 121 Honorable Mentions. Entries came from schools and other educational programs, statewide, including home schools and after-school/tutoring programs. “The program continues to grow exponentially,” says Birdsall.
Bridsall, above, introduces four of the five American Voices Nominees, whose work was chosen best in the Mississippi Region. They include, from left, Dae Robinson, journalism, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School; Polly Watkins, poetry, Jackson Preparatory School; Shelly Castilaw, short story, Mississippi School of the Arts; and Lily Hunt, personal essay/memoir, Northpoint Christian High Schoo. Not pictured is Victoria Gong, flash fiction, Mississippi School for Math and Science.
National Medalists recognized at the awards ceremony included seated from left, row 1, Amanda Strain, New Hope High School, Columbus; Anne Hayes Davis, Lamar School, Meridian; Audrey Pilgrim, Clinton High School, Clinton; Lilly Hunt, Northpoint Christian School, Southaven; Shelly Castilaw, Mississippi School of the Arts, Brookhaven; Advikaa Anand, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland; row 2, Christopher Aaron, Mississippi School of the Arts, Brookhaven; Dae Robinson, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland; Mallory Nicholson, Petal High School; Stephanie Dauber, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Columbus; row 3, Abby Young, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland; Autumn Webb, Harrison Central High School, Gulfport; Madeleine Wiggs, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland; and Reed Peets, Jackson Preparatory School, Flowood.
Eleven seniors were chosen Portfolio winners, having submitted an array of their creative writing. Shown below, they included, from left, row 1, Shelly Castilaw, gold key, Mississippi School of the Arts; Lilly Hunt, silver key, Northpoint Christian School; Marley Roberson, gold key, Mississippi School of the Arts; Christopher Aaron, silver key, Mississippi School of the Arts; row 2, Alex Monterde, silver key, Mississippi School for Math and Science; Reed Peets, gold key, Jackson Preparatory School; Wesley White, gold key, Jackson Preparatory School; and Jewels Tauzin, honorable mention, Jackson Preparatory School.