Helena students receive literary awards

Published 1:25 pm Monday, March 13, 2017

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Students from HHS attended an awards ceremony at the Capitol in Montgomery in recognition of their writing talents in early March.

At the Alabama Writers’ Forum High School Literary Arts Awards and Scholarship Competition, Mallory Morris and Maggie Hamilton won Poetry Competition Certificates of Merit.

Sara Grace El-Feraly with her parents, Sammy and Lisa El-Feraly, at the Alabama Writers’ Forum High School Literary Arts Awards and Scholarship Competition. Sara Grace plans to attend UAB in the fall of 2017, as a nursing major. Her goal is to be a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner. (Contributed)

Summer Jackson was presented with the Poetry Judge’s Special Recognition award.

Sara Grace El-Feraly, editor of the Eureka literary magazine last year, was awarded a $500 Curnutt Family Senior Portfolio Scholarship.

“For my portfolio, I submitted two particularly personal pieces of writing along with some of my most recognized work from Mrs. Culver’s Creative Writing class. In total, my portfolio consisted of two short stories, a one-act play and three poems,” said El-Feraly. “Reality still hasn’t set in! It was an absolutely incredible experience and I’m very humbled to represent HHS in this extraordinary way.

“After winning, I thought back to the personal challenges I wrote about in my portfolio and thought to myself, ‘If that challenge never happened, I would have never written these things. If I never went through that particular hard time in my life, would I still be standing here, accepting this scholarship?’ God works in incredible ways and I really felt Him working in me throughout this entire experience.”

El-Feraly said although she will enter the medical field in college, she still plans to always write.

“Writing will never leave me, and I’m never letting it go,” she said. “I want to write something that makes people realize how wonderful it is to be alive. I want to leave my readers filled with encouragement about loving our life while loving others and ourselves.”

The 2016 literary magazine, Eureka, (“Subterranean”) won two major awards, Exceptional Graphic Design and Layout and Judge’s Special Recognition for Exceptional Literary Content earning it a $200 award.

The third volume of the HHS Eureka literary magazine, to publish this spring, is called “Aberration.”

“Jasmine Morgan came up with the theme idea this year,” said English teacher and literary magazine sponsor Jennifer Culver. “Hannah Crowe is editor and Houston Byrd is assistant editor.

“Writing their thoughts about the word aberration was an assignment for all my students,” Culver continued. “It seemed a word that encapsulated the many unexpected events that clustered in 2016, from the severe summer drought to the presidential election and historical events that have since transpired.

“A lot of this year’s literary work will consist of extravagant poems and short stories that portray strong emotion and exquisite plots that you wouldn’t typically expect,” adds Sara Grace El-Feraly.

Following is Summer Jackson’s poem, “Aberration.”

No one likes to talk about the failures, the nightcrawlers, the birds that fell from the nest.

No one is deaf to their cackles, their screams, their worn-down shoes slapping against the pavement.

No one is blind to their bruised and battered bodies, their smug grins, their dead eyes.

They are the kids who were cast away from the glimmering communities populated by paper dolls.

They are flaws, blemishes, mangled cookie cutters.

The street is their bible, their church, their savior.

It gives no judgments, no expectations, no restrictions.