This has been an exciting year for Mississippi students who participated in the Scholastic Writing Awards Program. As schools, students, and teachers accommodated safety measures and other changes necessitated by Covid-19, creativity was abundant. There were 808 creative writing entries from 225 students throughout the state, and 314 Scholastic Writing Awards were presented, according to Sally Birdsall, the Mississippi affiliate Scholastic administrator for the Eudora Welty Foundation and Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
The C Spire Foundation continues to be a generous sponsor of this special program.
As with other aspects of life during Coronavirus time, the methods of presenting awards and recognizing the outstanding student writers was different this year, as they were last year. Instead of an awards ceremony at the Eudora Welty House and Garden, certificates and other remembrances were mailed to students. Gold and Silver Key winners will receive Scholastic key lapel pins, and each American Voices nominee will receive a copy of A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty by Carolyn J. Brown.
Media production, including video and photographs, also played a special role in this year’s acknowledgement of winners.
Five students were nominated for American Voices Awards, the highest honor for state winners. They were Faith Bradford, Olive Branch, Mississippi School for Math and Science, for a science fiction/fantasy piece; Alana Brown-Davis, Tylertown, South Pike High School, for flash fiction; Maleigh Crespo, Foxworth, Mississippi School of the Arts, for poetry; Lily Hale, Pontotoc, Pontotoc Junior High School, for short story, and Rooks Russell, Brandon, Northwest Rankin High School, for novel writing. Watch a video featuring the American Voices Nominees from Mississippi tell about themselves and their writing and read from their winning entries HERE.
The following students received national medals. Maleigh Crespo, Mississippi School of the Arts, who was also featured in the video, received a Gold Medal and an American Voices Medal for poetry for “S.O.S. (Saving Ourselves).” Kaitlin Bennett, Picayune Memorial High School, won a Silver Medal for “The Year the Corn Died,” a short story. Emelia Bosarge of Pass Christian, who attends home school, received a Gold Medal for poetry for “Lotus.” Emmory Bridges of Canton, a student at Germantown High School in Madison, received a Silver Medal with Distinction for “Scribbly Sacraments,” her Senior Portfolio. Callie Matthews of Meridian, who attends Mississippi School of the Arts, received a Silver Medal for poetry for “Blue Sky.” Shelby Tisdale of Pearl, who attends the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, won a Silver Medal for poetry for “Woodworking With Ashes.”
A complete list of winners and their honors can be downloaded HERE. Watch for a posting soon of photographs of many winners from around the state. Many thanks to students, teachers, families, and schools for sharing the photos.
Scholastic Writing Award winners who are rising 10th graders through rising college freshmen are eligible to apply for the McMullan Young Writers Workshop coming up July 19-23 at Millsaps College. Download this flier HERE for more details.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program began in 1923 and has grown to be come the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program in the United States in the visual and literary arts for creative teens. Students in grades 7-12 in public, independent, and home-school settings are encouraged to participate, according to Birdsall. The Welty Foundation became the Mississippi affiliate to administer the Scholastic Writing Awards program in 2008, initially serving the Jackson metropolitan area and quickly expanding statewide. The Mississippi Museum of Art is the Mississippi affiliate for the Scholastic Art Awards program.