The Young Southern Student Writers program is recognizing 19 students in grades 3-5 for their poetry and prose pieces.

The YSSW contest, a partnership between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Southern Lit Alliance, accepts entries from across Hamilton County. The maximum length for poetry is 50 lines and 1,000 words for prose. A book of all the winning entries is compiled each year.

Faculty members from the UTC English Department read the 2,000 entries and selected 250 winners across each category and grade. They judge the entries for creativity, content and style. Each third, fourth and fifth grader at Bright School submits both a prose and poetry piece.

Usually, an awards ceremony is held at the Tivoli Theatre to recognize the winners. This year, Lynda LeVan, director of the Southern Lit Alliance, came to Bright and announced the winners. Each grade convened in the Centennial Theater and saw their classmates receive this exciting recognition. The awards were a surprise for the winners, and parents of the winners were notified in advance so they could attend.

The winners are:

Third Grade
Mrs. Hardy’s Class
Calvin Caputo-prose
Bo Valentine-poetry

Ms. McGuire’s Class
Wyatt Sommer-prose
Nayana Vardhana-poetry

Mrs. Womack’s Class
Harper Barto-poetry
Anna Grace Hitchcock-prose

Fourth Grade
Writing Teacher Mrs. Dickson
William Arnold-prose
Phoenix Beasley-poetry
Braden Hutcherson-prose
Waylyn Pullen-poetry
Lauren Reisman-prose
Thad Smith-prose
Lila Taslimi-poetry

Fifth Grade
Writing Teacher Mrs. O’Brien
Stone Caputo-prose
Catherine Curtis-prose
Quinn Davenport-poetry
Meg Finger-poetry
Sissy Oehmig-poetry
Lela Kate Sorrow-prose


YSSW 2021 Winners