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Dordt College News

Students are honored for excellence in writing

May 17, 2013

The Dordt College English department recently recognized 11 students for outstanding writing in the annual Purple Martin Writing Contest, a contest that has been held for 16 years.

While cash prizes are awarded for first and second place, there is more to the contest than the awards. Dean for Curriculum and Instruction Leah Zuidema described the contest as “a way for us to celebrate our students and their creative talents.”

Members of the English department read and judge the entries. And when it comes choosing a winner, recognizing excellence is not always easy. Professor of English Mary Dengler explained that “something is excellent when it reflects life or is truthful in its representation of life.”

Dengler said that the best writing “develops an argument with reasons and examples in a way that is powerful, authentic, winsome, and convincing.” These are qualities found in the winners of this year’s Purple Martin awards, she said.

This year’s winners are as follows:

Literary Analysis
• First place: Elizabeth Riley (Mount Vernon, Washington), “Feminism: Freeman’s Purposeful Remodel.”
• Second place: Anna Visser (Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada), “I Love to Tell the Story: A Common Christian Quest.”
• Honorable mention: Anna Visser, “‘Destroyer and Preserver’ Poetry and Prophesy Past and Present.”
• Honorable mention: Kelsey Kooima (Hull, Iowa), “Whitman’s Elegiacal Lament in ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.’”

Analysis, Persuasion, Argument, Exposition (junior and seniors)
• First place: Anna Visser, “The Art of Bondage: Music and Lyrics in the Renaissance.”
• Second place: Alex Updike (Desert Hot Springs, California), “An Analysis of Gideon’s Personality.”
• Honorable mention: Alex Pasker (Runnells, Iowa), “Truth and Misconception in Avatar.”

Analysis, Persuasion, Argument, Exposition (sophomores and freshmen)
• First place: Kelsey Kooima, “‘The Hollow Men:’ An Escape for the Empty.”
• Honorable mention: Peter Hoelsema (Dorr, Michigan), “Too Easy: Our Deepest Communication Need.”

Personal writing (juniors and seniors)
• First place: Danielle Richards (Grand Island, Nebraska), “Land Before Time.”
• Second place: Marissa Van Bemmel (Rock Valley, Iowa), “Sensory Overload.”
• Honorable mention: Anna Visser, “Coffee Cups and Lactaid Lattes.”

Personal writing (sophomores and freshmen)
• First place: Jacquelyn Jacobsma (Orange City, Iowa), “Don’s Food Center.”
Fiction
• First place: Danielle Richards, “The Plagiarist.”
• Second place: Becca Van Dam (Manhattan, Montana), “All the Little Children."

Poetry
• First place: Becca Van Dam, “Home,” “Flight,” and “Canyons.”
• Second place: Elizabeth Riley, “When You Pass By.”
• Honorable mention: Danielle Richards, “Arrowhead” and “Video Games.”
• Honorable mention: Jahn Kuiper (Struble, Iowa), “Repeat After Me.”
• Honorable mention: Alex Pasker, “Sleeping Spell.”

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