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KHS Students Sweep Awards in National Writing Competition

Students in Kirkwood High School (KHS) Advanced Placement English classes submitted essays to the Yes! Magazine National Student Writing Competition.

For Yes! Magazine writing competitions, students are invited quarterly to read a selected Yes! Magazine article, then respond with an essay using a writing prompt. For the fall competition, students first read “Cooking Stirs the Pot for Social Change,” by Korsha Wilson. Students then responded with an up to 700-word essay to the writing prompt: “If you were to host a potluck or dinner to discuss a challenge facing your community or country, what food would you cook? Whom would you invite? On what issue would you deliberate?”

From the hundreds of essays written, six were chosen as essay winners from student writers across the country who submitted essays to the contest. Four categories of winners were selected: middle school, high school, college, and Powerful Voices.

KHS students swept the top four high school prizes: Grace Williams was announced as the national high school winner. Emma Lingo, Paisley Regester and Hayden Wilson swept all three of the Powerful Voice Winners. Yes! Magazine also recognizes a Middle School Winner and a University Winner.

Grace Williams, KHS junior, won the national high school winner category for her essay entitled “Apple Pie Embrace” about Thanksgiving traditions in her family. Grace enjoys playing tennis, baking, and spending time with her family. Grace also enjoys her time as a writing editor for the KHS yearbook, “The Pioneer.” In the future, Grace hopes to continue her travels abroad, as well as live near extended family along the sunny beaches of La Jolla, California. 

Emma Lingo, KHS junior, winner in the Powerful Voices category for the essay entitled “The Empty Seat” about sobriety. Emma spends her time working as an editor for her school paper, “The Kirkwood Call”, reading, and being vocal about social justice issues. Emma is active with many clubs such as Youth and Government, KHS Cares, and Peer Helpers. She hopes to be a journalist one day and to be able to continue helping out people by volunteering at local nonprofits.

Paisley Regester, KHS senior, won in the Powerful Voices category for her essay entitled “Last Meal” about the criminal justice system. Paisley devotes her life to activism, the arts, and adventure. Inspired by her experiences traveling abroad to Nicaragua, Mexico, and Scotland, Paisley hopes to someday write about the diverse people and places she has encountered and share her stories with the rest of the world.

Hayden Wilson, KHS junior, won in the Powerful Voices category for his essay entitled “Bittersweet Reunion” about transgenderism. Hayden loves writing, making music, and painting. He’s a part of KHS’s writing club, as well as the GSA and a few service clubs.

KHS junior Mohamed Omar earned the "Literary Gem" award, and an excerpt of his essay will appear in an upcoming edition of Yes! Magazine. KHS juniors Melanie Eickmeyer and Kylie Rollings were recognized for “Clever Titles.”  

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From left to right: Paisley Regester (KHS senior and Powerful Voice Winner), Emma Lingo (KHS junior and Powerful Voice Winner), Hayden Wilson (KHS junior and Powerful Voice Winner), and Grace Williams (KHS junior and High School Winner).