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Jason Rapp

S.C. Honors College announces high school writing contest

Cash prizes, publishing opportunity offered

Submission deadline: Friday, September 25, 2020

The South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina invites your students to enter the South Carolina High School Writing Contest for cash prizes and a publishing opportunity.

PARTICIPANTS: The contest is open to South Carolina high school juniors and seniors in public, private, and home schools. TOPIC: The topic is “How should we improve the state of South Carolina?” We welcome submissions in all creative genres, including fiction, drama, and poetry. We also welcome straightforward essays and other kinds of writings – diary entries and letters, for example. Submissions must be within 750 words. HOW IT WORKS: After a student submits their work, 15-20 finalists will be chosen. Those finalists will have their work reviewed by the 2020 writing contest judge, Jonathan Haupt. Jonathan serves as executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center and is the former director of the University of South Carolina Press. DEADLINE: Students must be residents of South Carolina. The deadline is September 25, 2020. Cash prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250 will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners. The entries of finalists and winners will be showcased by the South Carolina Honors College on its website. Read more and enter by clicking here.
Main page photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

High school juniors and seniors invited to submit work to USC writing contest

Submission deadline is December 2 logo-schcThe South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina and USC Press invite South Carolina high school juniors and seniors to enter the Fourth Annual High School Writing Contest. Public, private, and home-school students are welcome to submit work. In 750 words or less, writing in any genre or combination of genres (essay, short story, poem, play, etc.), students should answer this question: “How should we improve the state of South Carolina?” Submissions are evaluated based on originality of response and quality of writing. First-round winners will be invited to the USC Columbia campus to participate in the second round competition in March 2017. The second round will consist of an impromptu 40-minute essay response to be written that day. The first-round winners will be published in a USC Press anthology in the Young Palmetto Books series and receive additional recognition. For each grade level, the Grand Prize winners, as selected by the judges, will receive additional cash awards: First Prize–$1000; Second Prize–$500; Third Prize–$250. Complete details and a submission form are available online. Submission deadline is December 2.

Mary Alice Monroe to judge third SC High School Writing Contest

Deadline for students to submit entries is Nov. 2. New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe will judge the third annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest. Monroe, an Isle of Palms resident and noted conservationist, has written nearly 20 novels, most set in coastal South Carolina and many reflecting the importance of the relationships between people and places. She follows novelist Pat Conroy and South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth as judge of the contest, which is presented by the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina Press. “We’re excited and honored to have Ms. Monroe as our grand judge,” said Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College and founder of the contest. “We know these acclaimed writers have busy schedules, and for one as celebrated as Mary Alice Monroe to take time to read the work of young writers tells me she’s interested in the future of our state.” The topic from previous years remains the same this year: “How should we improve the state of South Carolina?” High school juniors and seniors can respond in 750 words or less in the genre of their choice—poetry, fiction, prose, essay, or drama. Monetary prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third-place winners, and USC Press will publish all the writings by the winners and finalists in Writing South Carolina: Selections from the Third High School Writing Contest under its Young Palmetto Books imprint. Monroe will write the foreword. “My personal motto is ‘Make a Difference,’” Monroe said. “The topic speaks to me because it encourages all of us to consider ways in which we can give back to our community.” The program includes a second round in which finalists will gather at USC in Columbia for an impromptu writing contest. They’ll also hear remarks from Monroe, tour the university’s library collections, and receive books signed by South Carolina authors. Monroe will judge the finalists’ submitted and impromptu work. Winners and finalists will receive cash awards. First-place winners receive $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250. The first-place winner in the senior class receives the Walter Edgar Award, funded by SCHC alumnus Thad Westbrook and named for the well-known USC professor and South Carolina historian. The second-place winner receives the Dorothy S. Williams Award, which is funded by an anonymous donor and named for the late public school educator in Anderson County. “I’ve entered contests, both as a student and as a professional,” Monroe said. “It’s part of the journey of a writer. I’ve won, placed with honorable mention, and of course, did not place. It’s exciting—a rush—to win, of course, a validation and a time to celebrate. Not to win or place can be a burn, but once the pain passes, I go over the scores and critiques carefully. A good judge or critique points out what the writer did well, not only what the writer did wrong. There is a lesson in that too, and getting good feedback is essential to fostering good writing and good thinking.” Deadline for students to submit entries is Nov. 2. Students can find out more about the contest and how to email their work here: http://schc.sc.edu/writing-contest. Via: S.C. Honors College  

Saluda High teacher helps her writers discover world beyond small town

From The State Column by Salley McInerney, photos by Tracy Glantz
[caption id="attachment_19141" align="alignright" width="298"]Saluda High School Kelly Minick teaches English at Saluda High School. Each year a number of her students have been finalists in the South Carolina High School Writing Contest. Here, Minick works with students Breanna Boatwright, left, and Caitlyn Sanford in AP Literature.[/caption] SALUDA COUNTY, SC — On the town square of Saluda, the double doors leading into Rexall DRUGS are covered over in brown paper. It’s just as dark, peering through the front door of the SALUDA movie theater where a sign on the glass boasts “ARTIC AIRE” – a tiny penguin poised between the two words. To the casual observer, it’s tempting to regard this small burgh some 40 miles west of Columbia as merely a quiet place to pass through. On the outskirts of town, cows graze in bucolic pastures. Tractors are parked in tin sheds. No, you simply wouldn’t think much was brewing in Saluda on a mild morning in March. And you would be wrong. Inside English teacher Kelly Minick’s classroom at Saluda High School, a pitch-perfect storm of expression has cut loose; a literary landslide has begun. Eight of the 29 finalists in the prestigious South Carolina High School Writing Contest – set to conclude this Saturday in Columbia – have emerged from this place. “Somehow in this classroom we have developed a sense of camaraderie and I don’t know the reason why,” Minick said. “I just stand up and do what I do. The only thing I can think of is that I have given my students an opportunity to be creative. To see things from a different point of view. And, I have pushed them.” Indeed, the class on this recent morning is a rapid-fire discussion of characterization. Words like “verisimilitude” (having the appearance of truth) are used. Phrases like “All roads lead to tone and theme” are not uncommon. A little Latin gets thrown in – en medias res – in the middle of things. Names of novels get bandied about. William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying.” And some of literature’s most vivid characters too. Captain Ahab, from “Moby-Dick.” All the while, Minick never stops moving. She charges to the blackboard. Writes down something a student has said. She perches on a desk, listens to a student. She points to another student. “I want some people who haven’t talked to me,” she said. She goes back to the blackboard. She perches. She smiles. She cajoles. She pushes. “Ms. Minick is a teacher in the truest sense of the word,” said student Alex Lybrand. “Throwing knowledge at a kid is one thing. Ms. Minick opens our minds to all these ideas. She is allowing us to use our potential. She allows us to put down our ideas in ways that we would never have thought of. She makes me see things that I did not notice before. I don’t feel like there are any wrong answers in here. We don’t make mistakes in this class. We just have different interpretations.” Student Lori Able describes the magic of Minick’s teaching this way: “This class changes your view of the world, especially coming from Saluda.” Which, ironically enough, is precisely where the 35-year-old teacher is from. “I was born and raised in the house I live right across from now.” Minick graduated from Saluda High in 1997 and then Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina with a degree in English. “The last thing I wanted to do was be a teacher. I didn’t want to deal with the bureaucracy of it.” But, Minick said, in 2001, “My mom ran into someone who worked at the grocery store who said, ‘Do you know they are looking for an English teacher at the high school? ’ ” The rest is English, if you will. Minick applied and was offered the position. Did she know anything about teaching? “Absolutely not. Noboby taught me how to teach, but I did know my content. So, I taught what made sense to me. I want my students to be able to read, interpret their literature, form opinions based upon the text and then figure out how it is relevant to their lives.” And how does she describe her students? “Besides brilliant? They are from Saluda County. They come from all kinds of homes and all kinds of backgrounds.” And this Saturday, eight of them will undoubtedly shine in the big city, where they will be given 40 minutes to write on a subject disclosed just before work begins. The contest is sponsored by the South Carolina Honors College and the University of South Carolina Press. Novelist Pat Conroy and South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth will judge the students’ work. And what will Minick’s parting advice be to the students who hail from a small town where a store’s windows are covered in brown paper but where she has opened wide a world beyond Saluda County borders? “I’ll tell them, ‘Just do what you do. Just do what you know how to do. ’ ”