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2013-2014 Project Grant Report

Writing Contest for Local High Schools

University of Louisiana-Monroe
Beta Zeta Chapter

University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) Beta Zeta Chapter hosted the 2nd Annual Common Reader Contest, inviting all schools in Ouachita Parish, both public and private, to enter. Our goal in this competition was to help students develop their writing skills, cultivate a high regard for the English language, and spark discussion on the difficult themes in We the Animals that high school students are often censored from but exposed to.

To invite students to participate in the contest, we mailed letters of invitation that included information about submission, judging, and the awards ceremony along with the reading selection to each English teacher in the parish. The contest was announced to the ULM Humanities Department by our Faculty Sponsor, Dr. Jana Giles.

In contrast to our first contest, this year’s contest was divided into the categories of essay, fiction, and poem to acknowledge the importance of each form of writing. One winner from each a category would receive a $100 and a prize packet. Students who participated in the contest submitted essays and poetry. The students and their families were thankful for our efforts to promote literacy and encourage discussion on the controversial issues of race and sexuality.

The awards ceremony and reception were a success. We are planning to continue to improve, possibly expand, this event as it is an exceptional way to foster a closer relationship between the university and the high schools in our community.