Fifteen Mena High School students attended the Southern Arkansas University Creative Writing Festival on Friday, November 4, in Magnolia, along with Mr. Philpot. The students enjoyed several writing workshops, as well as hearing the award winners in the judged writing competition of stories sent in from around the state of Arkansas. The three categories of writing that were judged were Poetry, Non-Fiction, and Fiction. Four MHS students received awards for the high school category of writings. Haley Montgomery received third place in the high school Poetry division, Abbie Smith received third place in the high school Non-Fiction division, Taylor Howard received second place in the high school Fiction division, and Trevor Speight received first place in the high school Fiction division. Trevor Speight was also named the winner of the Superior award for all high school story entries, which earned him a $1,000 SAU scholarship.
This is the third consecutive school year that Mr. Philpot has had the opportunity to take students to the Creative Writing Festival at SAU. The students who attended this year’s festival were Abbie Smith, Bailey Turner, Alex Tabor, Michael Carson, Daniel Green, Haley Montgomery, Trevor Speight, Taylor Wiseman, Skylar Beck, Kaylee Rogers, Taylor Howard, Gillian Moore, Cody Gee, Samira Davidson, and Brandon Zacarias.
The three small workshops that the MHS writing students attended were poetry, fiction, and writing non-fiction for various audiences. Following being shown examples and tips from the session’s instructor, students had time to write their own pieces using that style, then share their work if they chose to do so. For the second year in a row, Mena students were the majority of the students volunteering to read.
The Creative Writing Festival has traditionally been held in April of each school year, but this year the festival was divided into separate events for high school and elementary age students. The high school edition of the festival was moved to November.