SUBMITTED BY ANDY PHILPOT –
For the second year in a row, Mena High School students had the opportunity to attend the Creative Writing Festival held at Southern Arkansas University, in Magnolia. In addition to attending the festival, which included a reading from a published author, writing workshop sessions, lunch in the SAU cafeteria, and an awards ceremony, three MHS students received awards for submitted writings that were judged prior to the festival.
The three categories that students could submit writings into for judging were Poetry, Short Story Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. While entries for submission were due in early March, the winners would not be notified until the awards ceremony held on the day of the Creative Writing Festival. The MHS students that submitted writings to be judged were in the category of grades 10-12 from all over the state of Arkansas. Brandon Zacarias, MHS junior, received second place in the Poetry category for his original poem “Poor Boy.” Skylar Beck, MHS sophomore, received second place in the Short Story Fiction category for her original story “My Letter to You.” Taylor Howard, MHS sophomore, received first place in the Short Story Fiction category for his original story “Confessions of a Hitman.” Each student received a certificate and a cash prize, with Howard also receiving a trophy.
Eighteen students made the trip to Magnolia on Friday, April 1, accompanied by MHS Creative Writing Teacher Andy Philpot. Students who have taken Mr. Philpot’s semester-long Creative Writing class at any point over the past two school years were welcome to attend, as well as any students currently part of MHS’s National English Honor Society. Students attending the Creative Writing Festival this year were Rachel Stacks, Cece Metcalf, Kayla Cunningham, Faith Amidei, Marvin McVey, Natalie Anderson, Brandon Zacarias, Cody Gee, Savannah Brown, Taylor Howard, Alex Tabor, Nathaniel Brown, Alex Cude, Kaylee Rogers, Skylar Beck, Bailey Turner, Kat Jones, and Angel Strother.
The three workshops that the students attended at the festival were centered around Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction, and Fiction writing. Each of the workshop sessions included reading sessions, and multiple MHS students read their stories aloud to the collective crowds in each of the three sessions on a volunteer basis.