Four Holmes Community College students won awards during the Mississippi Community College Creative Writing Association’s (MCCCWA) annual workshop and student competition. Colton T. DeShazo of D’Iberville, a business administration major on the Goodman Campus, took home first place in the Creative Nonfiction (Personal Essay) category for “From Spectator to Champion.”
“I first taught Colton last summer in Comp. 1 where he wrote his winning essay as an assignment for the course,” said Goodman Campus English Instructor Jessica Brown. “Colton’s strong work ethic and determination to excel in his studies had already stood out to me. When this particular narrative writing assignment unfolded, Colton had a lot of questions for me and made several revisions. He was already on the right track, but he wanted to challenge himself further. I offered him feedback for improvement, and while he took some of it into account, he also took a few liberties with the assignment as well so it could remain his own authentic story. Between his careful consideration of feedback and his willingness to step out of his own box a little, I knew he had the winning essay as soon as I read his final revision. Congratulations, Colton, from your exceedingly proud Composition instructor. Keep writing your story, Champ!”
Other students who won awards included Grenada Campus student Jay Downs of Grenada and Ridgeland Campus students Peyton DeLaune of Madison and Sean Jordan of Byram. Downs, a psychology major, won third place in the Poetry Division for “I’m Still Here.” DeLaune, a wildlife, fisheries and aquatic major, won third in Short Story for “Rental Cars, Stray Cats, and Storms” and Jordan, an Associate Degree Nursing major, won third in the Literary Essay Category for “The Influence of Christianity in the Works of Phillis Wheatley.”
Grenada English Instructor Amy Land was proud to brag on her student Jay Downs.
“Jay Downs is an exceptional writer,” Land said. “Finding writing to be healing, Jay works to share stories with others with great passion and feeling. Using the ability to make emotion come alive on the page, readers are naturally drawn deeply within these stories. Having worked with Jay for the past couple semesters throughout composition courses, Creative Writing, and The Writing Center, I have been so blessed to have had a front seat to incredible writing and story sharing.”
For the Ridgeland Campus, English Instructor Dr. Andrew Kelly shared a few words on his student Peyton DeLaune.
“Peyton’s strength is his sense of empathy,” Dr. Kelly said. “He can get into the heads of characters who are nothing like him and make them come to life. That’s what makes this story so special.”
Ridgeland Campus English Instructor Arnetra Pleas also had kind words to say about her student, Sean Jordan, who placed in the competition.
“Sean Jordan is a student excited by reading, research and writing, so I am not surprised by his recognition at the state-level Creative Writing Competition,” Pleas said. “He worked exceptionally hard on his essay, and he did not stop until he had accomplished a passionate critique of the religiosity in Wheatley’s poetry. I am so proud of him, not only for this award but for being an exemplary student.”
The MCCCWA competition included poetry, short story, essay (creative nonfiction), literary essay, dramatic writing and college literary magazine.
First, second and third place winners received monetary prizes of $100, $60 and $40, respectively.