Winners of 11th annual Louisiana High School Essay contest named

· · Winners of 11th annual Louisiana High School Essay contest named

Hana Le of Ruston High School has been named the first-place winner of the 2019 Northwestern State University Louisiana High School Essay Contest.  Le won the honor for her essay “That Gray Area: A Self Reflection on Culture and External Factors.”  Emily Savell of Grant High School in Dry Prong won second place for her essay “Bayou des Glaises,” and Timmie Harris of C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport won third place for his essay “The Dirty South.”  Two students received Honorable Mention: Sydney Hedrick of Grant High School for her essay “A Boot-Shaped Mark” and Summer Netterville of C.E. Byrd High School for her essay “What Makes My State So Great.”


Writing on the 2019 contest theme “I am Louisiana,” entrants were invited to address one or both of the following questions: “How has growing up in Louisiana shaped you into the person that you are today?  What makes you Louisianan?”


“This year’s entries were an immense pleasure to read,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center at NSU and co-chair of the Contest.  “The essays eloquently describe how Louisiana’s cultures, environment, and people are shaping these students’ lives in positive ways, but also how these young people are themselves shaping Louisiana for the better.  These students’ voices attest that the future of Louisiana is in good hands with our young people, who are proud Louisianans!”


Contest winners have been invited to attend the 11th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference on Saturday, September 21 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 University.  This year’s conference theme is “Becoming 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 $1600 for 4 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, Jason Church, materials conservator with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Lisa Davis, director of the Writing Project at Northwestern State University, 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, Letters, Graduate Studies and Research.  The contest is annual, with a new theme to be announced in early Spring 2020.


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



About the Author:

Leah Jackson is Northwestern State University's Director of Public Information and Media Relations. She is a 1994 and 2011 graduate of NSU and has been on staff since 2004.