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Creative writing talent celebrated by PJC awards

Published or Revised January 13, 2017

creative writing awards

Top winners from the Paris Junior College Creative Writing Awards included, from left, David Sleeper of Royse City for Regional Literature; Evyn McGraw of Greenville for Outstanding Student in English; Yuliana Morales of Paris for Outstanding Student in a Foreign Language; Caroline Janes of Paris for Narrative Essay; Letcia Yanez of Sulphur Springs for Outstanding Student in English as a Second Language; and Nathaniel McClain of Powderly for Short Story. Not pictured are Katelyn Allen of Sulphur Springs for first in Research Essay with Documentation, Jacob Dudley of McKinney for Argumentative/Informative Essay, and Mayzie Purviance of Bogata for Poetry.

Creative writing talent was showcased in a recent awards ceremony at Paris Junior College. Guest speaker was retired PJC journalism instructor Sharon Dennehy, who spoke to the students about learning to blog, and how blogs can showcase writing and lead to publication and other opportunities for writers.

Ceremony organizer and PJC English instructor Marsha Dennis thanked the presenters and welcomed everyone to the ceremony, saying it was a great pleasure to reward so many good writers.

Evyn McGraw of Greenville received the Outstanding Student in English award, presented by English instructor Chris Nichols.

Leticia Yanez of Sulphur Springs received Outstanding Student in English as a Second Language for the second year in a row; English and education instructor Dr. Marian Ellis presented the award to her. Yuliana Morales of Paris was named Outstanding Student in a Foreign Language and received her award from Spanish instructor Mayra Cumming.

Swingers of Birches, the anthology of first prize-winning entries published by the Communications and Fine Arts Division, was distributed at the reception following the awards ceremony. To receive a copy, contact the PJC English Department.

Winners by category include:

Regional Literature: First, “A City from Two Sides,” David Sleeper of Royse City, PJC-Greenville Center; second, “Addicted,” Mieshea Green of Paris, PJC - Paris campus; third, “Paris,” Brendan Henry of Paris, Paris High School; honorable mention, “Small Southern City of the States,” Matthew Cochran of Paris, Paris High School. Judge: Kelli Ebel; Former Instructor of Spanish (Paris Junior College), English as a Second Language and French (North Africa).

Poetry: First, “Sunday Morning Masquerade,” Mayzie Purviance of Bogata, PJC – Paris campus; second, “The Rose,” Heather Braswell of Paris, PJC - Paris campus; third, “Those Winsome Days,” David Sleeper of Royse City, PJC - Greenville campus; fourth, “One More,” Kayleigh Forbes, of Paris, PJC - Paris campus; honorable mention: “Crown Cruising,” Matthew Cochran of Paris, Paris High School. Judge: Deborah Lightfoot; Instructor of English, various secondary schools in Texas, retired; Rater of Graduate Record Exam essays for Educational Testing Service; and Poet.

Short Story: First, “The Haunted House,” Nathaniel McClain of Pattonville, Paris campus; second, David Sleeper of Royse City, PJC - Greenville Center; third, “Government Calls,” Katie Watson of Paris;  Paris High School; fourth, “The Beast,” Kayleigh Forbes of Paris, Paris campus; fifth,  “The Sacrifice,” Hailey Halbert of Sulphur Springs, Sulphur Bluff High School; sixth, “From Notion to Revelation,”  Matthew Cochran of Paris,  Paris High School. Judge:  Barbara Klier, Instructor of English, retired; Plano Independent School District; Family Therapist, Plano, Texas.

Argumentative/Informative Essay: First, “Illegal Immigration,” Jacob Dudley of McKinney, PJC - Greenville Center; second, “Reforming America’s Organ Donation System,” Don Yarbrough of Paris, Paris campus; third, “Frog Lives Matter,” Caroline Janes of Paris, Paris High School; fourth,  “Martial Literature: The Stories of War,” David Sleeper of Royse City, PJC - Greenville Center; honorable mention, “A Conversation of Lead and Fire,” Wesley Giddens of Paris, Paris campus; honorable Mention: “A Second Chance,” Matthew Cochran of Paris, Paris High School. Judge: Ruth Evans – University of North Texas: Bachelor of Arts – English (Creative Writing);  University of North Texas – University Relations, Communications and Marketing (Retired).

Narrative Essay: First, “Tomato Face,” Caroline Janes of Paris, Paris High School; second, “Saving Grace,” Mary Cass of Paris, Chisum High School; third “Growing Up and Growing Old,” Natali Brockway of Paris, Chisum High School. Judge: Jane Bouterse, Professor of English, Texarkana Community College, Texarkana, Texas (Retired).

Research Essay with Documentation: First, “Dystopian Society,” Katelyn Allen of Sulphur Springs, Sulphur Bluff High School; second,  “Dystopian Society,” Taylor Self of Sulphur Bluff, Sulphur Bluff High School; third, “The Importance of Vaccinations,” Katie Watson of Paris, Paris High School; fourth, “Legalization of Marijuana,” Caroline Janes of Paris, Paris High School; honorable mention, “Heart of Darkness,” Shikha Prakash of Paris, Paris High School; honorable mention, “Complexities of a Dystopian Society,” Jeffie Burt of Lake Creek, Chisum High School. Judge: Beth Shelton; Instructor of English; Chair, Communications Division; Paris Junior College, Paris, Texas (Retired).

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