Gatton Academy students receive literary awards

Rebekah Alvey

Three Gatton Academy students were recognized for their literary work at the Regional level of the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards.

Rhiannon Connor, Deeya Patel and Evan Poole each entered award-winning pieces of poetry, essays or short stories. 

Gatton Academy focuses on science, technology, engineering and math principles, accepting select high school juniors and seniors to attend classes on WKU’s campus.

“A lot of students do come to the academy to pursue STEM interests, but many times they have arts interests as well,” Gatton Academic Opportunities Coordinator Cheryl Kirby-Stokes said. 

The Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards is a national event, receiving almost 320,000 works of art and writing last year, according to the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards website. 

Connor, a senior originally from Berea Community High School, received a Silver Key award for her critical essay titled “Prestige in Higher Education and its Effects on Students,” and for her Writing Portfolio. She also received an honorable mention for her Critical Essays “Love in Wuthering Heights” and “Veganism: a Lifestyle through the Lens of Activism and Identity.”

Connor said a lot of her important work from her English 300 class went towards her portfolio. 

Connor is planning to study environmental sociology  because of an interest in social sciences and sustainability.

“Growing up, STEM was a strength but not my only interest,” Connor said. “Gatton was the first time interests and writing were coupled.” 

Patel, a junior originally from Hopkinsville and the University Heights Academy, received a Silver Key award for her poems “Ephemeral Beauty,” “Stellar,” “This Place” and “Vernal.” She also received an honorable mention for her poem “Supernova.”

This was not her first time publishing writing but her first competition; she wrote for the Hopkinsville Community College magazine, “The Roundtable,” and her high school magazine. 

“Science is really beautiful honestly,” Patel said, who wants to study biology and go into the medical field, an interest on which she bases a lot of her writing.

Poole, a junior originally from Muhlenberg County High School, received an honorable mention in Flash Fiction, for a short story titled “Mirrors”   under 1,000 words. 

“It doesn’t relate to my career but I’ve always been interested in literature,” Poole said.

“I’ve always been interested in computers,” Poole said. He hopes to go into cyber security and based off current events hopes to “increase the standard.” 

Kirby-Stokes said this was the first time Gatton students were recognized in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. 

“The students are very self-motivated,” Kirby-Stokes said. “When they find something they are interested in they go after it.”

 Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]