By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
Patrick Henry College is pleased to announce the winners of its 2010-2011 short story competition, A Call to Pens. The contest received more than 200 entries this year. Volunteer judges from PHC’s faculty, staff, alumni, and upperclassmen with creative writing experience viewed entries anonymously and voted on their favorites through several rounds. By the end of the process, several pieces stood out in both the first division for students ages 12-15, writing on the theme of “courage,” and in the second division for those ages 16-18, writing on “endurance.”
In the first division, Anna Jakubiec’s first-place “Blue Spring,” spins a haunting tale of “Wrestling Crane” and the young blind girl he finds in the woods. A teenager in Brianna Bruce’s “Reflection of the Phoenix” must make a difficult decision that will change her relationships forever. In “Facing the Traffick” by Austin LaCroix, a girl in terrible peril must find strength through her faith. And in Elizabeth Paddock’s honorable mention “Echo in My Soul,” a Huguenot girl must rescue her young brother from execution.
The second, older 16-18 division also saw a wide range of quality entries. Susan Rozeveld’s first-place “The Final Death,” brings us into the trials of a young slave in an ancient, pagan culture and the choices she must make when the tables are turned. A nurse in Hannah Romero’s “Grey and White” banishes the persistent emotional malaise that has seeped into her soul from post-WWII Italy by serving as a silent witness to another’s grief. In Matthew Stouffer’s “Going Home,” a brotherhood of soldiers faces the bittersweet self-sacrifice and death of military service. Last, Joshua DeSimpelare’s “Sounds Unheard” won honorable mention with its account of two young refugees from war who save each other—only to share a terrible secret.
Senior Crista Richey, who is also editor-in-chief of the College’s literary and creative writing journal, Cuttlefish, managed the Call to Pens writing contest this year and last. The contest was founded in 2008 by Peter Forbes (Literature, ’09).