WKU English Department Awards Three Winners for Essay Contest
- Rob Hale
- Friday, March 30th, 2018
Bowling Green, Kentucky—The Western Kentucky University English Department honored three winners for its first Advanced Placement Literature Essay Contest at a reception on March 29. Harris Gregory of Allen County-Scottsville High School, won first place, $300 in cash, and a $500 scholarship to major or minor in English; Hayley Watson of Taylor County High School won second place and $200 in cash and a $300 scholarship to major or minor in English; and Zavier Logson of Allen County-Scottsville High School won third place, $100 in cash, and a $200 scholarship to major or minor in English. Winners also earned $50 each for their school’s English programs.
The English Department recognized nine other finalists: from Allen County-Scottsville High School, Lauren Bearden, Hannah Beltz, Katelyn Bewley, Rachel Bomar, Alexus King, Jennifer Owen, and Macy Pruitt; from Barren County High School, Tristan Houchens; and from Portland High School, Sarah Hutchinson.
Over thirty students entered the contest, and all high school English teachers who sponsored their students were honored as well: Larissa Haynes of Allen County-Scottsville High School; Addison James of Todd County Central High School; Melissa Laymance of Taylor County High School; Kelley Ross of Barren County High School; and Cody Tucker of Portland High School.
Students submitted essays about the poem “Chopping Wood” by the late Jim Wayne Miller, member of the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame and former WKU faculty member. The essays were evaluated by members of the WKU English Department.
Additionally, Junior English major Jessica McCormick made remarks about her path in choosing WKU and the English major. Dr. David Bell read “Chopping Wood” for the audience, and Dr. Alison Langdon read Gregory’s winning essay.
The English Department hopes this contest will be the beginning of an annual tradition. Dr. Hale said, “High school teachers are doing some outstanding work in our region, and we were looking for a way to honor them and the excellent work that their students are producing. We were pleased to have such a wonderful response to our first contest. We plan to continue the competition next year and hope to expand it to include composition and creative writing to celebrate more good teaching and writing.”
During the reception, Department Head Dr. Rob Hale encouraged students to consider an English major and minor and explained the many benefits: “WKU has terrific programs in literature, creative writing, professional writing, English for Secondary teachers, and teaching English as a Second Language. Coursework and mentoring by our faculty have enabled our graduates to have richer, more fulfilling personal lives and successful careers in law, national and international non-profit work, teaching, farmer’s market administration, the military, business, technical writing, editing, creative writing, technology administration, screenwriting, newspaper editing, comedy, graphic design, art, project management, and higher education—one of our graduates was even a vice president at Disney!