Winners of USC Sumter Spring Poetry Contest announced



The 2024 USC Sumter Spring Poetry Contest brought 80 entries by students from Sumter County public and private middle and high schools with the support of their teachers. This is the 39th time the university has sponsored the contest.

The mission of the contest is to promote writing and reading in complex forms, provide a creative outlet for young poets, celebrate the talents of youth in our community, and lastly, honor the teachers and schools that support these poets, according to a news release from USC Sumter.

"I am truly passionate about poetry, and so, to connect with my students over something so deeply personal was a wonderful experience. I was thrilled to learn that the student judges from USC could not see the names of or the schools of the poets, so their final decisions were genuinely focused on the poetry itself," said Leah Kiernan, ELA teacher at Thomas Sumter Academy.

The winners were announced during a recent presentation featuring readings from the contest's finalists. Finalists for this year's contest are middle schoolers Brooklynn Moore, Autumn Crockett, Sydney Quick, Allyson Deonier, Audrey Allen, Chloe Jo Perry, Stella Lindler, Helena Vasquez, Landon Mclellan and Ana Beck. High school finalists are Katelyn Mizelle, Annabelle Williamson, Haley Garcia, Sophia Fackelman and Grayce Osgood.

The 2024 winners are:

Middle school

- first place, "Art Block" by Brooklynn Moore

- second place, "Ode to Sampson" by Autumn Crockett

- third place, "The Cage" by Sydney Quick

High school

- first place, "Snap!!!" by Katelyn Mizelle

- second place, "The Timekeeper" by Annabelle Williamson

- third place, "Day and Night" by Haley Garcia

Winners of the contest received a certificate, gift card to Books-A-Million and a swag bag of USC Sumter merchandise.

The contest was organized by USC Sumter faculty members Vincent Frontero, instructor of English, and Dr. Ray McManus, professor of English and chair of the Division of Arts and Letters, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education.

"Any opportunity to showcase the creativity and talent of our youth is worthwhile," said McManus in the release. "This program is an important aspect of USC Sumter's commitment to community outreach and engagement. I'm grateful for Vincent and his ENGL 200 class and all the teachers who made this possible!"

The organizers thank those who helped make the contest possible, including the Division of Arts and Letters at USC Sumter; Alethia Hummel, director of Marketing and Public Relations; Stacy Nance in University Advancement; and the Sumter Partnership of the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation.