Story and photo by Kali Robinson
Dr. Margery Kingsley welcomed attendees to Cameron University’s English Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on April 6th.
White lights shined on red and black decorations as people filtered into the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) Conference Center. As students and sponsors settled into their seats, Faculty Sponsor Dr. William Carney thanked Dr. Kingsley and introduced 2012-2013 President Alex Rosa-Figueroa.
“‘Dear Inductees, I regret that I am not here to give these words in person,’” Rosa-Figueroa said, quoting 2012-2013 Vice President Seth Copeland who could not attend. “‘Be assured — or warned — that I am with you now. Those of you who are for the Beta Omicron chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society have chosen words and the ideas that they carry as your field of interest and expertise. You have become gatekeepers of truths which our world has occasionally sought to destroy. … It is with great pleasure that Alex and I leave this office in more than capable hands. ‘”
The induction of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta Initiates and Officers began as Rosa-Figueroa, called 2013 initiates Casey Brown, Rachel Bucher, Amanda Goemmer, Krista Hubbard, Rhiannon Poolaw, Rexanne Riemer, Kaitlyn Stockton, Carson Stringham and Lucinda Taylor up to the front. Inductees shook Dr. Kingsley and Dr. Carney’s hands as they lined up beside the podium. Rosa-Figueroa then introduced 2013 officers, President Casey Brown, Vice President Carson Stringham, Secretary Gilberto Nunez, SGA Representative Kaitlyn Stockton, and Historian Rexanne Riemer.
A sponsor gave each initiate a rose and a candle. Inductees lit these candles as they were introduced as new members of the 2013 English Honor Society. The audience applauded as inductees made their ways back to their seats. Current English Honor Society members smiled, as Dr. Carney prepared for the meal the same way he had for the past three years.
“‘Some hae meat and no can eat. And some would eat but want it. But we hae meat and we can eat and sae the lord be thankit,’” Dr. Carney said, quoting the Scottish blessing. “Go get some food.”
Students chuckled and the sound of applause filled the room. One or two attendees made their way to the buffet line followed by the rest of the crowd filtering into two single file lines, talking as they piled steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and potatoes onto their plates.
Tables filled with conversations of world travel, literature and poems. As the waiter cleared dinner plates, a few took advantage of dessert and decaffeinated coffee.
Dr. Leigh Holmes, who has been in the department since 1975, announced the 2013 winners of Creative Nonfiction.
“It was really enjoyable to read and just sort of sprang out as a winning essay this year,” Dr. Holmes said about the first place piece.
Keaton Lamle won first place with “Resurrection Day.” Carson Stringham won second with “These Ears of My,” and Mikayla Riddles won third with “Mommy.”
After winners accepted their awards, Dr. John Morris introduced the winners of the John G. Morris Poetry Prize. Amanda Bell took first place with “Senility Sestina.” Seth Copeland was second with “Confluence Of.” Maurice Buckner was third with “Parkinson’s.” Amanda Goemmer and Jacob Jardel both received Honorable Mention for “Rearranging the Uniform,” and “Abundant Metaphysical Resonance.”
Dr. Hardy Jones introduced the Matt P. Haag Creative writing scholarship and its winner, Amanda Goemmer, with “The Ravenous Well.”
Dr. Bayard Godsave introduced the AWP Nominees. Amanda Bell was nominated in the Fiction category with “For Emily.” Carson Stringham was nominated for “These Ears of Mine,” in the Non-fiction category. Seth Copeland was nominated with “Where I am, Where I go,” in the Poetry category.
Dr. Kingsley introduced the rest of the scholarship recipients. Gilberto Nunez won the Jessie Mae Hines Language Arts Scholarship. Alexander Rosa-Figueroa won the Lawton Shakespeare Club English Scholarship.
Six students won English Tuition waiver this semester. They were Seane T. Gibbs, Lacey Cervantez, Taylor Q. Allen, Gilberto Nunez, Alexander Rosa-Figueroa and Breanne R. Holley.
Dr. Vivian Tomlinson announced that Rachel Bucher won the OCTE Geraldine Burns Award. Rachel McLain won the Lawton Shakespeare Club Award.
As Dr. Thomlinson began to thank everyone for coming, students who had gone to the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival that weekend
rushed to the front and said “We have a surprise.” They presented both Dr. Jones and Dr. Carney with handmade journals. Everyone cheered.