Enlish awards and Sigma Tau Delta reception

Enlish awards and Sigma Tau Delta reception

By Cam Alsbrook

Managing Editor

At 4 p.m. on April 8, the English Awards and Sigma Tau Delta reception took place in the McMahon Centennial Complex’ Buddy Green Room.

The event was hosted by the English department and its Faculty to honor award winning creative writers, as well as inducting new members into the Beta Omicron chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.

The reception began with a welcome by Dr. Christopher Keller, who spoke about his experience with the university and its populace, and gave thanks to the faculty and students in attendance.

Next, Dr. William Carney led the induction of the new honor society members into Sigma Tau Delta, members of the honor society in attendance stood in solidarity with the new members.

Carney said he was happy with the new initiates, and he thinks they will plan fun things for the Campus soon.

“Sigma Tau Delta has historically been one of the more active honor societies on campus,” Carney said. “In ‘pre-pandemic’ times, you could count on them for activities that other campus constituencies could participate in – I think they are a model for other Cameron honor societies.”

Afterwards, Dr. John Morris presented awards for both the “Leigh Holmes Prize for Creative Nonfiction” and the “John G. Morris Poetry Prize” to winning Cameron students.

The winner for the Leigh Holmes prize was Mitchell Dufrin, and the honorable mention was tied between Baily Boydston, Taylor Jones and Ryan Shows.

Winners for the Morris Poetry Prize include Kayla Russel for first place, Elizabeth McMains for second, and Stacy Pifer for third.

Morris said he is always pleased about student works being recognized in poetry contests, regardless of winners being prior students or not.

“This year, first and second place, and the first honorable mention poems were written by students in my Creative Writing – Poetry class this semester,” Morris said. “Both Kayla Russel – who won first place – and Elizabeth McMains – who won second – told me that they are first-time poets [who] had never written poetry before, so I’m pleased that their early efforts have been recognized by judge Katherine Hoerth.”

Morris said that first and third honorable mentions for the Morris Poetry Prize, Thomas Juarez and Wyn Jessie respectively, enrolled in his Techniques of Poetry class in the Fall 2021 semester, where Juarez returned to doing Poetry writing.

Morris also said Ryan Shows – who ended up as a double honorable mention for both the Morris Poetry Prize and the Leigh Holmes Prize is a versatile and talented writer.

Finally, Morris said he was happy with the recognition for Cameron Student Stacy Pifer, who won third place for the Morris prize.

After, Professor Leah Chaffins presented the “Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ awards to the Cameron nominees – Tereasa Neeley for Fiction, Mitchell Dufrin for Nonfiction and Kayla Russel for Poetry.

Next, Dr. John Hodgson presented Sigma Tau Delta officer Shelbey Boswell the Lawton Shakespeare Club award.

Continuing awards, Dr. Suz Tyrrell awarded Kyndall Erricson with the Geraldine Burns Award.

Tyrrell said she is proud of all of the award winners – and has helped three of the four English education students (Baily Boydston, Shelbey Boswell, Sarah Lindsey) who won awards join the program, and teaching the fourth who had enrolled in the program already (Kyndall Erricson).

Tyrrell said, for Boydston, she was most proud of her second-place tie for the Leigh Holmes Nonfiction award – of which her piece was based on her family’s journey through foster care and adoption.

“I cried when her family came in the room because I had read the essay and it touched me so much,” Tyrrell said.

“Sarah won a scholarship, which is fitting of her academic work and success. Shelbey won the Shakespeare award – only ask her about ‘Ole Willie’ if you have an hour – and Kyndall won the Geraldine Burns award for Excellence in English Studies, which an outstanding teaching student in English receives,” Tyrrell said.

Tyrrell said that overall, she feels very proud of the advancements and accomplishments of the students she has worked with.

“I am proud of each one of these women who are about to be exceptional teachers, who will not fill young minds with repetitious worksheets, but with critical thinking and true knowledge – helping them actually think for themselves,” Tyrrell said. “I hope they will always remember my own silly but important class mantra: ‘Yay, Thinking!’”

Since this is Tyrrell’s last semester at Cameron, she said that while conditions here were untenable due to both the economic and political climate – her colleagues are why she chose to be here rather than another position offered to her nine years ago.

“The best part, of course, has been the students,” Tyrrell said. “From comp to comm to young adult literature to English education courses, I have really loved teaching at Cameron. The students are what make or break a teaching job – Cameron students have made the job a delight. My classes have seen babies be born and grow up, and puppies have their own seats. I will miss Cameron; fortunately, I won’t be too far. I’ll visit!”

The ceremony continued with Dr. Carie Schneider giving the First Year 2022 Scholarships and Tuition Waivers to recipients.

Cameron student Sarah Lindsey won the Lawton Shakespeare Club English scholarship, and students Bailly Boydston, Madeline Cox, Tiffany Estes and Richard Lawton received the Tuition waivers.

All in attendance stood for Scissortail Writing Festival Attendees Thomas Juarez, Alison Malaway, Kaley Muse, Tereasa Neeley and Ryn Swinson.

In closure, Keller congratulated all of the graduating English majors, wishing them well for future endeavors.

After the ceremony concluded, groups took photos together and enjoyed snacks as well.

For more information about the Cameron English Department, call 581-2272.

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