Three East Mississippi Community College students were among the winners in a creative writing contest that included entries from community colleges across Mississippi. Abby Romig, at left, and Laura Hope Belk, at right, are two of the EMCC students who placed in the competition, as did Peyton J. Wolf, who is not pictured.

May 11, 2022

Three East Mississippi Community College students placed in the 2023 Mississippi Community College Creative Writing Association’s (MCCWA) annual workshop and contest, and EMCC’s literary magazine, “Syzygy,” took second-place honors among in-house college publications that were professionally bound.

Students from community colleges across Mississippi competed in categories that included Creative Nonfiction, Dramatic Writing, Literary Essay, Poetry and Short Story.

EMCC student Abby Romig took first place in the Literary Essay category for her piece titled “The Devil in Dog’s Clothing,” an analysis of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s drama titled “Faust” that was written with direction from humanities instructor Jan Mullen in her World Literature class.

“I am so pleased for Abby,” Mullen said. “Abby completed scholarly research as part of her preparation for writing this literary analysis. Her essay was detailed and insightful, and it is deserving of this recognition.”

Other EMCC students who placed in the competition are Laura Hope Belk, who earned second place in the Short Story category for “My Moment,” and Peyton J. Wolf, who won second place in Creative Nonfiction for his article, “Sandpiper Hands.”

“We have a great group of students who competed this year and the fact that they did so well speaks to their abilities,” said EMCC instructor Marilyn Ford, who oversees production of “Syzygy” and teaches courses in English composition, literature and creative writing. “It has been rewarding to watch them hone their writing talents, which are a result of both natural talent and hard work.”

EMCC’s “Syzygy” has a track record of past successes in the MCCWA contest, with numerous first and second-place finishes over the years.

The magazine highlights the works of EMCC students in categories that include Ceramics, Creative Nonfiction, Design, Short Fiction, Drawing and Poetry. Faculty advisors and judges choose the winning entries to be included in the magazine among student submissions.

First place winners in the 2022-23 edition of EMCC’s “Syzygy” magazine are: Bill Lauderdale Art Award of Excellence — Ezria Robins, whose piece of art titled “Summer Nightmare” is featured on the cover of the magazine; Betty Killebrew Literary Award of Excellence —Abby Romig; Ceramic Award of Excellence — Hailey Hutchinson; Creative Nonfiction Award of Excellence — Peyton J. Wolf; Design Award of Excellence — Katherine Dunstan; Short Fiction Award of Excellence —Laura Hope Belk; Drawing Award of Excellence — Ella Bowen; Poetry Award of Excellence — Eboni Sherrod.

Other student artists and writers whose works were chosen for inclusion in the magazine are Isley Randle, Justin Hampton, Sarah Barnes, Devin McDill, Samantha Knight, Alyssa Beaty, Arin Franks, Kaigan Lemaster, Chase Fry, Paige Bivens, Omari Tunstall, Cody Carr and Sadie Williams.

“I am very proud of this group of students,” Ford said. “The submissions to ‘Syzygy’ were remarkable and the magazine is top-notch this year thanks to their contributions.”