The Winners of the First Writing Contest

The winners of the first-ever writing contest sponsored by the Troy University Writing Center were announced this week

Caleb Humphreys, Kristin Yeager and Megan Phillips each placed in the contest that asked writers to write about “The Ghost Map,” this year’s Common Reading Initiative.

The contest, which was announced during the Writing Center’s open house in March, was an effort to encourage students to read “The Ghost Map” and to offer students the opportunity to put their reading to productive and integrative use.

Prizes for the contest included Barnes & Noble gift cards, which were worth $200, $100 and $50. The gift cards funded by the Quality Enhancement Program, which is headed by Dr. Hal Fulmer.

The contest accepted any format of writing so long as it pertained to “The Ghost Map.”

Humphreys, a senior English major from Luverne who placed first in the contest, and Yeager, a senior elementary education major from Beauregard who placed second, both wrote creative short stories. This was in contrast to the scientific subject matter of “The Ghost Map.”

“Both the first and second place entries, despite being creative stories, based much of their stories on the facts of the book,” said Elaine Bassett, the Writing Center’s coordinator.

“All of our entries were excellent, but those two had a unique angle.”

Phillips, a freshmen psychology major from Ohatchee who placed third, however, wrote a more traditional essay.

“Mine was on the fallacy that had Great Britain not provided clean water, they would not have been a national power,” Phillips said.

The three winners shared their support and concern for the Common Reading Initiative, which began in 2007.

“It’s a good idea as long as students actually read the books,” Humphrey said.

Yeager shared her personal experience with “The Ghost Map,” which is indicative that the goals Troy University set for the program are at the very least effecting on person.

“I really enjoyed learning about the history of a different culture, and I learned a lot about the Victorian time period,” Yeager said.

“It [the Common Reading Initiative] exposes people to different types of text.”

All three winners expressed interest in there being another writing contest on the next Common Reading Initiative, but The Ghost Map’s place in the university’s curriculum has not quite come to a close.

Some of the winners offered some advice for students who may still have assignments related to “The Ghost Map.”

“Approach it creatively,” Yeager said.

“If you do not like it, at least be able to support why,” Phillips said.

Once the semester is over and “The Ghost Map” joins the ranks of previous Common Reading Initiatives, Basset and First-Year Studies are hopeful that they will continue the writing contest next year with the next book.

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