To encourage and support the writing interests of Nassau County students, the Amelia Island Book Festival offers scholarships and a writing contest. For 2020, two students have been awarded college scholarships and 14 were recognized in the Short Story Writing Contest during an awards ceremony on February 15.
“Our Book Festival has become known for the Authors in Schools program that brings books and writers to schools. However, with scholarships and writing contests, we invite students to truly engage with us and exercise their own skills for creativity and prose. We love being able to recognize the remarkable talent we have in our own schools, and congratulate our 2020 winners,” said Larry Williams, AIBF president. “We are grateful to the Powell family, the AEL Family Foundation, and the David Miller family for making these programs possible.”
For scholarships, AIBF received a total of 34 applications. Jeremiah Giedrys, a Fernandina Beach High School senior, was selected out of 27 applicants for the $5,000 AEL Family Foundation Scholarship based on his essay responding to the question, “Why does education matter to you? In his essay, Giedrys wrote: “I know that by striving to do my best in school, I can open up opportunities that my parents were not able to achieve, and show them that their sacrifices were worth it.”
The Christa Powell Walley Scholarship for $2,000 did not require an essay, but is offered for students seeking college education in the communications or creative writing fields. This year there were seven applicants. The scholarship was awarded to Emily Vining, also a Fernandina Beach High School senior, who noted “the historical power of ideas spread through education.” Vining plans to major in history and become a historical journalist.
In the Short Story Contest, students were asked to submit original works of 500 to 1,000 words based on the theme, “Once Upon a Time.” Entries represented Fernandina Beach High School, Florida Virtual School (the state’s Internet-based public high school), Hilliard Middle and Senior High School, Callahan and Yulee Middle Schools, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County.
Judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for high school and middle school students. They also awarded finalists in those categories for entries worthy of honorable mention. The Boys & Girls Clubs had two first-place awards.
1st Place: Madelyn Maguire, “Nature’s Daughter”, FBHS grade 12
2nd Place: Amelia Wright, “Once Upon Our Time”, FBHS grade 9
3rd Place: Penny Carr, “Princess Penelope and the Purple Dragon” FBHS grade 12
Joseph Henry Perry, “Old Smelly Hound,” FBHS grade 12
Carly Terry, “Sugar Plum Fairy,” FBHS grade 12
Sierra Baldwin, “Avril’s Decision,” FLVS grade 11
1st Place: Bailey Fouraker, “Nevermore,” FLVS grade 8
2nd Place: John Addington, “The Cursed Emerald,” FBMS grade 6
3rd Place: Bailey Rounsville, “The Russian Watch,” CMS grade 8
Gage Dickerson, “The Greatest Gift,” YMS grade 8
Kaeris Allen, “A Girl and her Dog,” HMS grade 8
Olivia Risinger, “Seeing in Color,” CMS grade 8
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS
Trinady Shields, “When in Reality”
Craig Manning, “The Trip”
· $175 for each high school and middle school first-place winner
· $100 for each high school and middle school second-place winner
· $50 for finalists based on creativity, writing style and other criteria determined by judges
· $75 to winners from Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County