Oswego High School has grown a tradition of excellence in writing. Through our talented instructors and competitions at the local and national level, Oswego High School Panther Writers continue to impress with their creative, introspective works. Please see a list of award-winning writers below.
Senior Trinity Arias won the Gwendolyn Brooks Grade Level award for her poem, "Great-Grandmother." Along with a cash prize and publication, Trinity has been invited to read her poem at the Logan Center in Chicago on August 20, 2022. Congratulations, Trinity!
April, 2022:Panther Writers travelled to Yorkville High School to attend Southwest Prairie Conference Literary Festival. At Lit Fest, students attended young adult author Jeff Zentner's keynote speech, various workshops with writing industry professionals, an open mic of slam poetry, and an awards ceremony. Oswego High School won 13 awards this year. Together with Oswego East, our district accounts for 56% of the awards given to the 12 schools in the conference. Award winners include:
Lit Fest Attendees: Perseus Jackson, Willow Madden, Azreal Parduhn, Abby Miller, Tad Pierski, Joey Waldron, Lily Clementi, Arleth Antunez, Hailey Mueller, Ademir Aviles, Nailah Brown, Skye Weaver, Sophia Santiago.
- Elizabeth Rodriguez-- 2nd place for her Critical Essay "Transgender Women in Female Sports" and Honorable Mention for her Critical Essay "The Dangers of Sex Work: A Negative Toll on Physical Health"
- Sophia Santiago--2nd place for her Descriptive Sketch "Anthropology of the Heat"
- Nailah Brown--3rd place for her Descriptive Sketch "Amusement Park"
- Azreal Parduhn--Honorable Mention for their Descriptive Sketch "Cerulean Swirls" and an Honorable Mention for their Short Fiction "The Illusion of True Joy"
- Ethan Rhoades & Mikayla Allen--Critic's Choice for their Dramatic Scene "The Super Sophisticated Society of British Butler"
- Laila Abouhaiba, Jessica Taylor, & Devon Vinopal--Honorable Mention for their Dramatic Scene "Goat Yoga"
- Tori Akers--1st place for her Personal Essay "Breaking Down"
- Beatrice Garrigan--3rd place for her Personal Essay "Uncomfortable"
- Arleth Antunez--3rd Personal for her Narrative "Tears and Sweat"
- Abby Miller--Honorable Mention for her Personal Narrative "Friday the Thirteenth"
- Isreal Hopkins--Honorable Mention for his Personal Narrative "The Taller Brother and The Shorter Brother"
February, 2022:Congratulating to the following students and their advisers for placing in various categories at Saturday, Feb. 26's Southwest Prairie Conference Journalism Competition! For the first time in several years, 42Fifty adviser Sarah Hands and Reflector yearbook adviser Ewa Tulak both brought students from our journalism program to this competition, hosted this year by OEHS. Below are the OHS students who placed in this competition:Brianna King - 5th in Photo Storytelling - Reflector staff memberBrady Monahan - 5th in News Writing - 42Fifty staff memberTori Trevino - 5th in Review Writing - 42Fifty staff memberRiley Cherniwchan - 6th in Yearbook Copywriting - Reflector staff memberAbraham Gallegos - 5th in Editorial Writing - 42Fifty staff memberCongratulations to advisers Hands and Tulak, and kudos to our OHS journalism students who placed in the competition!
January 2022: Multiple students earned awards through the Scholastic Arts & Writing regional competition. Please join us in congratulating Creative Writing instructors Erin Holtz and Michael Leali and the following students who earned recognition: SILVER KEY: Ademir Aviles (senior) - short story "Witch of Circumspect;" HONORABLE MENTIONS: Natalia Baryla (senior) - poem "Home," Perseus Jackson (senior) - poem "A Hero;" Tessa Melton (senior) - poem "Flying;" Anna Buan (senior) - flash fiction "Fragile Glass."
November 2021: English teacher Erin Holtz (Creative Writing, Spoken Word) and Student Council advisers Anne Sweeney and April Ponte hosted Young Chicago Author/ Slam Poet Adam Gottlieb and DJ Ca$hera for Poetry Day on November 9, 2022. Approximately 50 participants were treated to Adam's poetry, his presentation of others' poetry, and were led through a workshop on identity and writing personal poems to present. For those who participated, it was a moving event!
August 2021: Students from Erin Holtz' Creative Writing and Spoken Word class entered the contest for Fox Valley's Youth Poet Laureate. Ten semi-finalists were interviewed by a panel and performed their pieces of writing, and five finalists were celebrated last week in an inauguration. Of the five finalists, three were OHS Panther Writers. Autumn Bartle and Cole Boni Granahan were both finalists, and Kaya Stott was a semi-finalist.
April 2021: With Literary Festival sponsor Erin Holtz, Panther Writers had another successful year at the Suburban Prairie Conference Literary Festival! Panthers won the top award in two of the seven writing categories. Our 308 writers, Panthers and Wolves, together took 51% of total awards. Students attended a virtual conference organized by West Aurora High School that featured the keynote speaker and prolific YA author, Brandy Colbert. Students then engaged in breakout workshops with notable authors, journalists, and publishers before attending awards. Thank you to all the teachers who have encouraged students to submit to Literary Festival; your words of encouragement are vital to keeping students engaged in the important and humbling work of writing. Below you will find the award recipients.Critic’s Choice (Top Award)
Alyssa Krake--Personal Narrative, “Growing up”
Mia Woltman--Short Fiction, "Two Coffees, Please"
Cole Boni Granahan--Poetry, “Room 263”
Alyssa Krake--Poetry, “I am enough”
Emily Thomas--Personal Narrative, “Staring at the Milky Way”
Stephanie Alcala--Personal Essay, “How does addiction affect parents and their children?”
Giselle Barrios--Short Fiction, “Alive”
Anna Buan--Critical Essay, "Don’t Kill the Spider: An Exercise in Open-Mindedness"
Abby Jobgen--Descriptive Sketches, “When Fog Settles” and “The Wildlands”
Mia Woltman--Critical Essay,"Enjoy the Little Things in Life: An Evaluation of Life’s Moments"
March 2021: Creative writing instructor Erin Holtz and English teacher Tracey Contino supported our OHS Panther Writers who earned awards during the January 2021 Scholastic Arts & Writing Competition~ Kudos tro our Panther Writers for their Success!
Gold Key: awards for the top 5-7%
Autumn Bartle (senior) "To What Extent does the Voting System in Modern-Day America Suppress Majority Opinion?" - critical essay
Silver Key: awards for the top 7-10%
Jake Krol (senior) "The Candle" - poetry
Honorable Mention: awards for the top 10-15%
Autumn Bartle (senior) "Polaroids in my Mind" poetry; Cole Granahan (senior) "Room 263" - poetry
Sam Boron (senior) "The Journey to Seventeen" - personal essay & memoir
Madison Figueroa-Walsh (senior) "To What Extent does One's Choice to be a Lawyer Affect One's Overall Life Satisfaction?" - critical essay
Robert Gleason (senior) "Nostalgia Blink and Behind the Times: To what extent does nostalgia and the lament for the past inhibit an individual's ability to live in the present?" - critical essay
Winter 2020: Creative writing instructors Sarah Hands and Erin Holtz supported 11 OHS Panthers who earned awards during the January 2020 Scholastic Arts & Writing competition! Kudos to our Panther Writers for their success!Gold Key: awards for the top 5-7%Melanie Lumbert - senior - "Pick a Side, Any Side" - Personal Essay & MemoirMia Woltman - junior - "A Red Rose" - Flash FictionSilver Key: awards for the top 7-10%Kaya Stott - junior - "Scarlet Petals" - PoetryHonorable Mention: awards for the top 10-15%Juan Aguilera - junior - "He won" - Short StoryAli Baker - senior - "Kore" - PoetryJovanna Gonzalez - senior - "The Ticking Clock" - Flash FictionMark Melton - senior - "Family Feud" - Dramatic ScriptRyan Nolan - senior - "Victory" - Flash FictionAndrew Provost - senior - "What a Lovely Party" - Flash FictionKaya Stott - junior - "Fowler" - Short StoryCoral Sutton - junior - "The Ghost Who Could" - Flash FictionHayden Welchko - junior - "Invasive Memories" - Short Story
Winter 2019: Creative Writing instructors Sarah Hands and Erin Holtz supported 17 students who earned awards during the winter 2019 Scholastic Arts & Writing competition! Students also earned National Medals in the Scholastic Arts and Writing competition. This is the second year that OHS students have earned a National Medal for writing.
Shelbie Brasher earned a Silver Medal in Poetry for her piece titled "The Definition of Loneliness."
Melanie Lumbert also earned a Silver Medal in Poetry for her piece titled "Lady Wanderlust." Award recipients are below:
Gold Key (top 5-7%)
Shelbie Brasher - Poetry, "The Definition of Loneliness"
Melanie Lumbert - Poetry (2), "A Chemist's Love Poem" and "Lady Wanderlust"
Riah Trevino - Dramatic Script, "Relief"
Silver Key (top 7-10%)
Julia Dedic - Short Story, "A Letter to Mom"
Robert McDonald - Flash Fiction, "Vitality"
Ronald Nichols - Science Fiction, "Before Völuspá"
Michael Valdez - Flash Fiction, "The Struggles of a Writer"
Honorable Mentions (top 10-15%)
Lauren Abrell - Flash Fiction, "Trying it All"
Kazual Campbell - Personal Essay/Memoir, "Bump-and-Run"
Julia Dedic - Humor, "Preschool Prison Riot"
Cade Fiorito - Flash Fiction, "Far Too Many Times"
Mark Melton - Dramatic Script (2), "A Reasonable Solution" and "Ghost Unbusters"
Mark Melton - Short Story, "Business Trip"
Andrew Neal - Flash Fiction, "Mr. Green"
Kimberly Rogers - Flash Fiction, "Green Eyes"
April 2019: Conference Literary Festival participants also brought home awards during the April, 2019 competition. Award recipients, led by advisers Tracey Contino and Erin Holtz, include:
Melanie Lumbert - Critic’s Choice for Personal Essay and First Place for Poetry
Allison Sass - Critic's Choice for Poetry
Zach Sato - Critic's Choice for Personal Narrative
Josie Diaz - First Place for Personal Narrative
Deja Smith - Second Place for Personal Narrative
Grace Chmielinski - Honorable Mention for Personal Essay
Julia Dedic - Honorable Mention for Poetry
Riah Trevino - Honorable Mention for Dramatic Scene
Mark Melton took home three awards, including Critic’s Choice for Short Fiction, Second Place for Dramatic Scene, and Third Place for Dramatic Scene.