Students win cash awards in LAND writing contest

By Cati Currier, Staff Writer –

Winners in the annual MCC Liberal Arts Network for Development (LAND) writing

contest have been announced for fiction, poetry and essay.

They received cash awards of $100 for first place in each category, $75 for second, and

$25 for third.

Michael Dietz took first place honors in fiction with “Red No. 67.” Second was Angelo

Hernandez-Sias with “Chainboy (1979)”, and third was Mathew Wagenmaker with “Rust.”

Honorable mentions were awarded to William Rezny for “Feeding Time” and Thomas

Cotty for “Outstanding Slumber.”

In poetry, Jennifer Lance took first place for “Camouflage,” while Afton Walker won

second with “Owed to O’Keefe.” Third was Shayne Miller with “Unnecessary Elegy to


Receiving honorable mentions were Kristina Salinas for “Ruptured Aorta” and Adrianna

Turner for “Longing.”

Winning first place in the essay category was Jonathan Hastings for “Deep Breaths.”

Elizabeth Robin Carpenter won second with “How to Have an Absolutely Miserable Camping

Trip,” and Hannah Mockma took third with “Rebellion: The Story of Gizelle.”

Fiction winner Deitz said he’s been writing for many years.

“I distinctly remember writing a short story in grade school, first grade to be exact,

which won a contest the school was having,” he said. “The subject had something to do with a

boy and a magical horse. A shelf on my bookcase is dedicated to the years of journals I have

accumulated since my late teens, and in my early 20’s I began writing a fantasy novel that is

saved to a flash drive in my office.”

Dietz says that he was inspired to write his piece “Red No. 67” because of something that

he realized on his way home from work one day.

“No one, I repeat, NO ONE, should ever be made to feel awful for what cannot be

controlled and for what is on the inside,” he said. “I sometimes fantasize of a world where

everybody is comfortable enough to be who they truly are on the inside and not be made to feel

that those parts of us are to be confined and imprisoned within the frame of a mirror. Though

some may be off-put by the subject and theme of the story, my hope is that it at least raises

awareness to the fact that being different is never wrong.”

Dietz said that he decided to enter the contest “because I truthfully wanted to compare

my own work against the work of the competition. To simply place in the contest would have

been an amazing confirmation in itself that I am headed in the right direction with my work as an

artist. But to walk away with first place was truly an overwhelming experience, and it has

equipped me with a very special tool with which I will be able to conquer much self-doubt for

my future.”

Lance also has been writing for quite a few years.

“I’ve been writing since I was about nine or ten,” she said, “though I didn’t really become

involved in writing poetry until I was 13.” She said that most helpful to her was taking Mary

Tyler’s poetry writing class. “It is an incredible class and I learned so much.”

Lance says that she is inspired as a writer by the ways that people interact with each

other. She says that she wrote her poem using hunting as a metaphor to a relationship.

Hastings said that he originally began writing his essay for an assignment at Grand

Valley State University. He never turned it in, so he decided to enter it in the MCC contest.

“My inspiration came from the positive message that Breathe 02 provided. I believe that

nature should be respected and protected, especially in today’s society. It is easy to go day by day

without giving nature preservation a second thought.”

The MCC competition is sponsored by the Muskegon Writers’ Center and the MCC

English Department.

The winning entries will now move on to state competition. Awards will be presented at

the statewide conference in February at Grand Rapids Community College.


Picture unrelated: MCC Holiday Music Concert on Dec. 6th 2015 with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” by more than 100 student musicians and singers.

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