Caddo Magnet student wins high school essay contest


Kristen Adams of Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport has been named the first place winner of the 2018 Northwestern State University Louisiana High School Essay Contest.

Adams won the honor for her story “The Jacquedeaux.” Natalie DuBose of Minden High School won second place with her story “The Ghost of Mardi Gras” and Jadynn Giles of Grant High School in Dry Prong won third place for her entry “The Edge of the Bayou.” Three students received Honorable Mention: Peyton Harville of Airline High School in Bossier City for her essay “Happily Ever After in New Orleans,” Allison Huffty of Caddo Parish Magnet High School for her story “Selena” and Jacob Pichon of St. Paul’s School in Covington for his entry “The White Crawfish.”

Writing on the 2018 contest theme “Once Upon a Time in Louisiana,” entrants had their choice to write either a creative non-fiction essay in which they described an experience that could only have happened to them in Louisiana or they wrote a folk or fairy tale set in a Louisiana setting. “This year’s entries were an immense pleasure to read,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and co-chair of the contest. “Louisiana students are not only accomplished writers, they are also highly creative.”

“Each year I look forward to reading the variety of submissions that roll in for the contest,” said Jason Church, materials conservator with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training and co-chair of the contest. “The essays come in from all corners of our great state and carry with them the experiences, dreams and imaginations of students from every possible social and economic background. Hearing the voices of our Louisiana youth is a humbling experience. At the end of the contest each year I feel warmed that Louisiana’s literary future is in good hands.”

Contest winners have been invited to attend the 10th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference on Saturday, Sept. 22 to read their essays to the Conference participants prior to having their essays published in the Louisiana Folklife Journal, which is published by the Louisiana Folklife Center. The Louisiana Studies Conference will be held on the Natchitoches campus of Northwestern State. Like the essay contest, this year’s conference theme is “Once Upon a Time in Louisiana.” Attendance at the conference is free and open to the public.

The first, second, and third prize winners will each receive a $200 per semester NSU scholarship with a value up to $1,600 over four years. All of the contest winners will receive a cash prize in honor of their accomplishment. The essay contest is open to all Louisiana students in grades 9 – 12 regardless of type of school institution, including students in all types of private educational environments, as well as home schooled students.

This year’s Essay Contest judges were Dr. Lisa Abney, faculty facilitator for academic research and community college outreach and professor of English at Northwestern State University, Lisa Davis, director of the Writing Project at Northwestern State University, Church and Rasmussen.

The contest was sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Office of Recruiting, the NSU Writing Project, and the College of Arts and Sciences. The contest is annual, with a new theme to be announced in early Spring 2019.

For more information contact Rasmussen at NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497,, or call the Louisiana Folklife Center at (318) 357-4332.