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[LIBRARY]Release: Over 150 Young Hoosier Writers Honored at Annual Event
Start Date: 5/7/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/7/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2014) – Promising young Hoosier writers were honored at the 2014 Indiana Youth Literary Day & Awards Ceremony held at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis. Over 250 guests, including students, teachers and proud family members, attended the ceremony headlined by award-winning, young-adult author Christine Johnson (  

Youth Literary Day awards winners and semifinalists in the national Letters About Literature and River of Words contests. Letters About Literature is a national reading-writing contest that asks students in grades 4-12 to write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves. River of Words is designed to help youth express themselves through the arts, while exploring their environment and developing a sense of place and appreciation for discovery.  Both contests are programs of the Indiana Center for the Book and Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Indiana Youth Literary Day is made possible through the generous support of The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation and Poetry Contests for a Cause, an initiative of Anderson, Indiana poet Stacy Savage.

Over 150 students won awards, including 121 semifinalists, 18 honorable mentions, and 15 finalists. This year's finalists are as follows:

Letters About Literature Level I (grades 4-6)
First Place: 
Sara Purdue—Castle North Middle School,  Newburgh (View Sara's essay)
Second Place:  James Walsh—Blair Pointe Upper Elementary, Peru
Third Place:  Kayla Oxley—Castle North Middle School, Newburgh

Honorable Mentions:
Adrianna Black—Zionsville Middle School, Zionsville
Lee Chu—Riverside Intermediate School, Fishers
Julia Chumlea—Zionsville Middle School, Zionsville
Kaity Ewald—Castle North Middle School, Newburgh
Nathan Kussow—Zionsville Middle School, Zionsville
Lola Phillips—Castle North Middle School, Newburgh
Daelyn Quinn—Castle North Middle School, Newburgh

Letters About Literature Level II (grades 7-8)
First Place: Loralee Potter—Salem Middle School, Salem (View Loralee's essay)
Second Place: 
Gabriella Eck—Jasper Middle School, Jasper
Third Place: 
Amanda Briggs—West Lafayette High School, West Lafayette

Honorable Mentions:
Mary Dewell—Klondike Middle School, West Lafayette
Jade Green—Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Tia Reutepohler—Jasper Middle School, Jasper
Cooper Smith—Silver Creek Middle School, Sellersburg
Sheena Tan—Klondike Middle School, West Lafayette
Sally Wagner—Greensburg Jr. High School, Greensburg

Letters About Literature  Level III (grades 9-12)
First Place: 
Mason Hooper—Portage High School, Portage (View Mason's essay)
Second Place:  
Dominic Rossi—Zionsville Community High School, Zionsville
Third Place: 
Tiffany Liberto—Logansport High School, Logansport

Honorable Mentions:
Kayla Combs—New Tech at Wayne High School, Fort Wayne
Kamari Grayson—New Tech at Wayne High School, Fort Wayne
Brianna Havics—Covenant Christian High School, Indianapolis
Ireland Mitchell—Homeschooled, Indianapolis
Audrey Niblick—Logansport High School, Logansport

River of Words Junior Poetry
First Place: 
Dalvir Bachra, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Second Place: 
Nate Griffin, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis

Nevaeh Hite, West Newton Elementary
Ava Marquardt, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers
Yannick Ndongo, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers
Lorelei Porter, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers
Christopher Everly, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Kaylee Demlow, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Aaron Kuhn, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers
Rachel Dowless, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers
Clayton Toner, Fall Creek Intermediate School, Fishers

River of Words Senior Poetry
First Place: 
Noah Workman, Westfield High School, Carmel
Second Place: 
Tate O’Herren, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis

Branson Deen, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Michaela Emanuel, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Rayven Lopez, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis
Sylvia Yun, Belzer Middle School, Indianapolis

River of Words Art
First Place, Junior:
Renee Patton, Hammond
First Place, Senior: Sarah Chase, Carmel

"It is an honor to recognize Indiana's best young writers for their creative work," said Suzanne Walker, Director of the Indiana Center for the Book. "This year's honorees were chosen among the top 3% of entrants nationwide."

These finalists all received cash prizes and plaques courtesy of the Indiana Center for the Book and the Library of Congress. All semifinalists and finalists in attendance also participated in an exclusive book signing and received a variety of free copies of the latest works from Margaret McMullan, award-winning young adult author and University of Evansville English Professor, and Christine Johnson. The Indiana Center for the Book also honored Jeff Mann from Belzer Middle School during the ceremony with its Letters About Literature Instructor of the Year Award.

Prior to this year’s ceremony, the Indiana Center for the Book held its second-annual Indiana Youth Literary Day Writer’s Camp. The series of morning workshops enabled students to interact with and learn from notable Hoosier writers, including:

Margaret McMullan – Young Adult Author & Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair in Literature & Writing, University of Evansville
Robert Griffith – Poet & Associate Professor of Creative Writing/English, University of Evansville
Sarah Layden – Author, Poet & Associate Professor of Creative Writing/English, Indiana University—Purdue University, Indianapolis
Norman Minnick – Poet & Associate Professor of Writing, Indiana University—Purdue University, Indianapolis
Christine Johnson – Young Adult Author, Youth Literary Day Keynote Speaker

"I would like to thank the McMullan Family Foundation, Stacy Savage, Writers’ Camp instructors, Mr. Mann of Belzer Middle School, and the hundreds of Hoosier students and teachers that participated in this year’s program," said Walker. "Letters About Literature and River of Words are exciting and educational program for everyone involved and the Writer’s Camp and Awards Ceremony is the perfect way to cap off this year’s Center for the Book programming."

For more information about the Indiana Center for the Book, including results of past contests and upcoming contest information visit

About the National Center for the Book:
The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading.   For information about its activities and national reading promotion networks, visit  

About the Indiana Center for the Book:
The Indiana Center for the Book is a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Center promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries, and Indiana's literary heritage by sponsoring events and serving as an information resource at the state and local level. The Center supports both the professional endeavors and the popular pursuits of Indiana's residents toward reading and writing.


Contact Information:
Name: Suzanne Walker
Phone: 317-234-5649
Indiana Center for the Book
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Kids and Families
  • Seasonal Events
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    Library, Indiana State

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