Western North Carolina students captured most of the prizes in the Student Laureate Awards sponsored by the North Carolina English Teachers Association this year.
The annual awards, begun by the family of former Laureate Kathryn Byre, are established to recognize excellent writing by middle and high school students around the state.
In the high school category, judge Cathy Smith Bowers, the state’s current Poet Laureate, chose Edward Madill’s poem “You Mom.”
Wow, this young poet is amazing,” said Bowers. Madill is a graduate of Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva and now attends UNC Asheville. Honorable mentions went to Mandi Dean, Smoky Mountain High School’s Macon County Middle school in Franklin swept the awards, with two students sharing first prize, Caitlin Parris for “Cathy” and Lindsey Dodge for “Everything.” Second-place winner is Abrianna Berry for “Squirrel Hunting with my Dad.”