The Eudora Welty House and Garden welcomed Mississippi Region Scholastic Writing Award winners, their families, and their teachers for the presentation of the 2022 awards. Moderated by Sally Birdsall, Regional Administrator, the program was held under a large tent on the front lawn. Guests were welcomed by John Hooks, Vice-Chairman of the Welty Foundation Board of Directors, and Mississippi’s Poet Laureate Catherine Pierce, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Mississippi State University, delivered opening remarks.

Fifty-five students received Gold Key awards, several more than one, and all had their work advanced to national competition. Eleven Mississippi students each earned one National Medal, with Elliott Nix of the Mississippi School of the Arts receiving three medals. National Medalists pictured below are, front row, Whitney Jones, Jackson 10th Grade, Murrah High School, Silver Medal Poetry; Jordan Brown, Hazlehurst, 11th Grade, Mississippi School of the Arts, Silver Medal Poetry; Karis McGowan, Jackson, 10th grade, Murrah High School, Silver Medal Poetry; Sara Hebert, Brandon, 12th Grade, Mississippi School of the Arts, Silver Medal Writing Portfolio. Back row, Dion Hines, Jackson, 11th Grade, Murrah High School, Silver Medal Poetry; Maya McFadden, Jackson, 12th grade, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Gold Medal Writing Portfolio; Sydney Knotts, Soso, 12th Grade, Mississippi School of the Arts, Silver Medal, Poetry and Short Story; Elliot Nix, 11th Grade, Mississippi School of the Arts, National American Voices Award, Gold Medal Poetry, and Silver Medal Personal Essay. Not pictured is Emily Stephenson, Meridian, 11th Grade, Lamar School, Silver Medal Poetry.

American Voices Nominees include Whitney Jones, front row left; Karis McGowan, front row third; and Elliott Nix, back row, right.

Five of the Gold Key winners were nominated for the American Voices Award, including Elliot Nix, who received a National American Voices Award. Four of the American Voices nominees were present and read from their award-winning works at the ceremony. Included in the picture above are Whitney Jones, poetry, “The Methods of the Mystic Lover”; Karis McGowan, poetry, “Song of Myself”; and Elliot Nix, poetry, “The Promethean Collection.” Mary Robinson Coco, Jackson, 12th Grade, Jackson Preparatory School, who read her short story “Lemonade Boy,” is pictured below. Not pictured is American Voices nominee Dami Oluwatade, Ridgeland, 12th Grade, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, personal essay, “The Perfect Pair.”

Mary Robinson Coco,
American Voices Nominee

In addition to the American Voices Nominees and Gold Key awardees, 14 students received Senior Portfolio Awards, 71 received Silver Key Awards, and 52 received Honorable Mention Awards. A list of all honorees may be downloaded here. Schools represented included Florence High School, Germantown High School, Mississippi School for the Blind, Gulfport High School, Jackson Academy, Jackson Preparatory School, Lamar School, Laurel Springs School, Madison Central High School, Madison Middle School, Mississippi School for Math and Science, Mississippi School of the Arts, Murrah High School, Newton County Academy, Northwest Rankin High School, Oak Grove High School, Oxford High School, River City Early College High School, Rosa Scott School, South Pike High School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Tupelo High School, Union High School, and Vicksburg Catholic High School.

Photographs of award winners at the ceremony will be emailed to students and their teachers.

At left, Lauren Rhoades, Welty House and Garden Director, welcomes students to the Scholastic Writing Awards program.Center, Rachel Lott, Special Projects Coordinator, invites guests to tour the Welty House and Garden. At right, Isabella Suell, English Literature and Anthropology major at Millsaps College, and Liz Egan, Director of the Centers for Academic Success and Excellence and Assistant Professor of English, invite students to enroll in the McMullan Young Writers Workshop at Millsaps to be held July 18-22. Suell attended the workshop herself when she was a student at Murrah High School in Jackson.

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