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South Carolina Honors College

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Writing South Carolina Volume 11

The Honors College is proud to showcase selections from the 11th annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest. Featuring submissions from high school juniors and seniors from across the state, the works are edited by Honors students from our SCHC 384 course.


Bright and strong, the tall goldenrod is South Carolina’s state wildflower. We think Solidago altissima also represents our state’s best young writers. Here are 18 of them, each of whom composed an original response to our annual question, “How can we make South Carolina better?” Read on and take heart. These writers are bright and strong indeed.


First Place – My Name, My Roots, My Home by Dayanara Reyes

Second Place – I Promise, You're Not Forgotten by Zayd Kidwai

Third Place – "Hands Up!" by Brookelynn Little

Honorable Mention – A Queer Child's Lullaby by Lily Heiner

Argumentative Essays

Savoring Heritage, Saving Health by Kensley Green

Education and the Role It Plays in the Development of Democracy by Brantley Metcalf

Navigating Towards Equity: We Need to Inspire Change by Raghav Pallapothu

The Red Flood of Ignorance by Davies Roberts

Education Inequality: The Need for Reform by Justin Schlag

Dollars for Scholars by Sophia Strobel


Thirty-One Seconds by Shaina Dashiell

Tangled Love by Catherine Milburn

The Dealer's Daughter by Kendall Pifer

Personal Essays

State-Owned by Abigail Bailey

Chronology of My Neighborhood by Avelyn Bailey

Roadkills by Kimora Brown

The State of My Identity by Eunwoo Choi


Subarus, Trucks, Giraffes, and Unity by Kristin Rotchford


The annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest wouldn’t be possible without other individuals and organizations. We thank South Carolina Honors College alumnus Thad Westbrook, the Pat Conroy Literary Center (Jonathan Haupt, executive director); the South Carolina State Library (Leesa Aiken, director); South Carolina Academy of Authors (Wilmot Irvin, chair); and the South Carolina Writers Association (Ash Smith, president). We also thank Felicia Mitchell, grand judge for this year’s contest, and the many high school guidance counselors and teachers who encouraged students to submit. The students in the fall 2023 semester of SCHC 384, Finding Your Voice: Writing and Editing for Life, were the first editors of volume 11. They are Alex Alleyne, Allison DeHart, Catherine DeMino, Lauren Douglas, Abigail Elliott, Seth Gould, Isabel Jordan, Hannah Augsbach Lamma, Sanskruti Patel, Paul Ward Pratz, Ronnie Rahenkamp, Rylyn Reynolds, Alexis Simpson, Caroline Smith and Kennedy Westendorff. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.