On a beautiful April 13, Eudora Welty’s birthday, some 300 students and their families and teachers from across the state visited the Eudora Welty House for the presentation of the 2014 Scholastic Writing Awards for the Mississippi Writing Region. The ceremony took place on the front lawn. Visitors enjoyed tours of the Welty House and Garden as well as birthday cake and refreshments in the Camellia Room.
The keynote speaker was Margaret McMullan, a young adult author, Scholastic Award alumna, and a member of the Eudora Welty Foundation National Advisory Board. Selected student winners also offered readings from their works. Pictured here with McMullan, from left, are Lee Schmidt, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, American Voices nominee, and multiple Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention winner; Gracie Hubacek, Jackson Preparatory School, Senior Portfolio Gold Key medalist; and Ian Garner, West Lauderdale Attendance Center, American Voices nominee and Gold Key winner.
The 2013-2014 program year marks the first time the competition was open to public, private, and home schooled students in all 82 Mississippi counties, thanks to a generous grant from the C Spire Foundation.
In total, 416 entries, including 21 senior portfolios, were submitted by students from 42 counties. Among the 101 regional winners, 37 received Gold Key awards, five of whom were also nominated for American Voices (best in region) Awards. Silver Key awards were presented to 56 and Honorable Mention awards to 78. A list of all Mississippi affiliate winners may be downloaded here.
The following students from Mississippi were honored with national awards:
• Lee Schmidt, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, National Silver Medal in Poetry for “Already Ghosts,” “Manuscript,” “Birdsong,” “Other People’s Hands,” and “Car Crash,” and an American Voices Medal for the short story “The Gate”;
• Nicholas Elder, Mississippi School for Math and Science, National Silver Medal in Personal Essay/Memoir for “Mimi’s Museum”;
• Jessica Garner, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, National Silver Medal in Poetry for “Muscadine Time”;
• Rachel Jones, Mississippi School for Math and Science, National Silver Medal in Poetry for “Hail Mary,” “ I Remember Sunday,” “Aunt,” ”Mississippi Queen,” and “Switches”; and
• Thomas Joyner, Jackson Preparatory School, National Silver Medal in Personal Essay/Memoir for “Redemption.”
The Scholastic Writing Awards began in 1923, and the program has grown to become the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the United States—as well as the largest source of scholarships for young writers. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is the nonprofit organization that serves as the administrator of the Scholastic Writing Awards. It partners with regional affiliates who administer the competition at the regional level.
These affiliates may administer the art competition or the writing competition or both. In Mississippi, the Eudora Welty Foundation began serving as the Mississippi Writing Region affiliate in 2008, with the Eudora Welty House serving as the administering site.
The writing competition began as a pilot in Hinds, Rankin, and Madison counties, and with support from the Cellular South Foundation — now the C Spire Foundation — the competition has grown to be offered statewide. The Mississippi Museum of Art has been administering the art competition for some 40 years.