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South Carolina Honors College

SC High School Writing Finalists Announced

Judged by poet Sam Amadon

Forty-one high school juniors and seniors from across the state have been named finalists in the fifth South Carolina High School Writing Contest.

“We started in 2013 with 23 finalists,” said Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College and founder of the contest. “We are really impressed with the quality and quantity of writing we’ve received this year.”

As in years before, the topic is “How can we make South Carolina better?” Students can respond in the genre of their choice—poetry, fiction, essay, drama, letter—within a maximum of 750 words. The contest is open to juniors and seniors in public, private, and home schools. Writings by the finalists will be included in an anthology published by the South Carolina Honors College.

Nationally recognized poet Sam Amadon, an assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of South Carolina, will judge this year’s contest. Amadon is the author of Like a Sea, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and The Hartford Book, winner of the Believer Poetry Book Award. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

Amadon spoke to the finalists April 12 at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where Round 2 of the competition is presented. Round 2 includes a second, timed, writing test in which finalists respond to an impromptu topic.

The Honors College partners with the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Sciences to present the contest.

First-place winner will receive $1,000 and the Walter Edgar Award, funded by SCHC alumnus Thad Westbrook and named for his professor, the South Carolina historian and writer. The second-place winner will receive $500 and the Dorothy Skelton Williams Award, funded by an anonymous donor and named for the late upstate public school educator. The third place winner will receive $250.

“I taught college freshmen for many years; young people have insightful, interesting, often brilliant things to say,” said Lynn, who has published books on Samuel Johnson, on critical theory, on the history of rhetoric and composition, and on writing strategies. “These students are our future leaders, and it’s important to understand their viewpoints. They could have solutions—or the seeds to solutions—to the problems we are facing now and in the future.”


Finalists for the 2017-18 South Carolina High School Writing Contest are:


Christina Altman, Heathwood Hall, Columbia

Genevieve Altman, Heathwood Hall

Camryn Barnhart, Hanahan, Berkeley County Middle College High School, Moncks Corner

Marie Charlotte Demetriades, Irmo, Heathwood Hall

Taylor Rose Elliott, Greenwood, Emerald High School

Joanna English, Duncan, Byrnes High School

Lacey Flowers, Aiken High School

Mac Hardy, Camden, Heathwood Hall

Gabriella Hewitt, Elgin, Ridge View High, Columbia

Justice Hill, Columbia, Heathwood Hall

Michael Hoehn, North Augusta High School

Braden Holst, Spring Hill High School, Chapin

Morgan-McKay Hoppman, Sumter, Home School

Will Hutchisson, Charleston Collegiate School

Ioakim Koutsioukis, Greenville Technical Charter High School

Lucidity Lua Lancaster, Longs, North Myrtle Beach High School

Madelaine Lee, West Oak High School, Westminster

Melina Manos, West Columbia, Heathwood Hall

Athreya Murali, Orangeburg, Heathwood Hall

Alyce Petit, Columbia, Heathwood Hall

Victoria Ponds , Lodge, Home School

Jasmine Smith, Johns Island, Porter-Gaud School

Jurnee Washington, Charleston, Charleston County School of the Arts



Bridget Anderson, Wedgefield, Wilson Hall, Sumter

Delaney Coldren, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek High School

Krista Drozdowski, Longs, North Myrtle Beach High

Chloe Godinez, Duncan, Byrnes High School

Matthew Goins, Gaffney High School

Catherine Gordon, Lyman, Byrnes High School

Alana Hewett, Lyman, Byrnes High School

Sarah Hobbs, Greenwood High School

Elliot Hueske, Charleston County School of the Arts

Kathleen Raye Humphries, Columbia, Humphries Homeschool Academy

Mary Devall Koenigs, Dreher High School, Columbia

Chloe Koth, Isle of Palms, Charleston County School of the Arts

Adam Krasnoff, Charleston County School for the Arts

Roey Leonardi, Charleston County School for the Arts

Peyton Pearrow, Swansea High School

Maria Traver, Johns Island, Charleston County School of the Arts

Reet Verma, Lexington High School

English Calhoun Walpole, Johns Island, Charleston County School of the Arts

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.