Heritage Students Sweep Carson McCullers Literary Awards

Hailey Drafahl, Staff Writer

Some students at Heritage High School participated in the Carson McCullers Literary Awards this year. The Carson McCullers Center is in conjunction with CSU and offers a yearly writing contest for Georgia college students and high school students in the Georgia and Alabama area. The reason they provide this competition is because they are “dedicated to preserving the legacy of Carson McCullers; nurturing writers and musicians, educating young people; and fostering literary, musical, artistic, and intellectual culture in the United States and abroad” according to their website. There are six categories, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplay writing, playwriting, and formal essay. The students at Heritage High School placed in 5 of these 6 categories. The winners receive $100 for 3rd place, $200 for 2nd place, and $300 for first place. One Heritage winner was Allie Boyd. Allie submitted a piece in the creative nonfiction category and got 3rd place. Her essay was a journey through her imagination and her growth as a writer. She is most proud of “how I constantly tied in the whole imagination idea.” She plans on buying clothes with her prize money. Another winner was Mark Harris. He submitted in the expository essay category, and also submitted a piece in the poem category: placing 2nd in expository essay and 3rd in poetry. Mark describes the poem concept as “it explores the grieving process as it goes through a funeral, as the poem continues, you see the five stages of grief and finally acceptance.” He plans on using the prize money for a new flute.

One more winner from Heritage was Kadyn Moore. She placed 1st for best screenplay writing. This screenplay was based on Taylor Swift’s “Bigger than the Whole Sky.” She was super excited, even exclaiming “To have won anything in first place this year was really cool!” Kadyn will be using this money to go towards her college education. Not only did Kadyn win a Carson McCullers award, but she also was a recent recipient of the Gold Key Award for a poem she submitted to the Scholastic Arts & Writings Awards. The Scholastic Awards organization is a prestigious one, with past awards being judged by luminaries like Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and Nikki Giovanni. Kadyn’s poem, “Pretty People,” will be recognized in an award ceremony at SCAD in Atlanta in early March and will compete for recognition at the national level. If students have interest in joining this competition it is very simple to get involved. The HHS English Department begins announcing this contest and the Young Georgia Authors Competition in early December. This gives the students 7 weeks to prepare. To prepare a student must write a piece in any category, edit the piece, and submit it to the website. Links to the website are advertised as soon as the competition begins. Carson McCullers Literary Competition is a great opportunity and students should definitely consider getting involved.