While the countdown to next Halloween has already begun, Jacksonville State’s campus had a week full of the paranormal activities for students and faculty alike. This included local high schools that came to Leon Cole Auditorium last Wednesday to put their literary skills to work for the annual Writers Bowl.
“As the producer of a reality TV show, write a letter to a classic monster explaining why the monster is being eliminated from your show.” This prompt, along with a list of classic horror movie monsters (Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc.) and popular reality television shows (The Voice, Survivor, Dancing With the Stars, etc.) was what participants of the Writers Bowl were given in order to test their writing abilities. What’s better? This was only round one.
The Writers Bowl consists of two portions each year: prose and poetry. These two genres of writing test a variety of skills and allow the judges to determine which team has the strongest writing abilities. Students are given their prompts, divided into their groups, and set free to get their creativity in motion.
High school students sprawled out in the grass, sat together on benches, or just huddled into a corner inside of the auditorium. Whatever the location, they all collaborated with their team members in an event to bring home first prize and revel in victory.
Christy Burns experienced her very first year volunteering with the Writers Bowl last Wednesday. “It’s been a very pleasant experience so far. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of different students. It seems like the program is going strong and improving from year to year.” She was selected to be on the Writers Bowl committee earlier this semester and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“It really gives them a chance to develop their skills as writers, which the ultimately the goal here,” said Burns in regards to how helpful the program was for students in the state.
On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Randall Davis has been involved in Writers Bowl since the very beginning. He has seen the program skyrocket in size from just twenty-five teams to the incredible seventy-two teams that were present last week
“It started seventeen years ago. Several members of the English department were all invited to a meeting where event was conceptualized. We held the first Writers Bowl in the library, but found out that it was going to be an event that quickly grew.”
Students from across northeastern Alabama and beyond are asked to participate in the event in an effort to challenge those with an interest and talent in the field of English.
“This year, we even have students from Tuscaloosa and Pickens County,” says Davis in regards to how the program is spreading.
“It’s a good time for the students. We get very lively responses from everyone who comes to take part every year. I’ve had students in freshman level classes with fond memories of their experience with the Writers Bowl.”