Huntsville Literary Association and Ardent Writer Press Visit High Schools to talk about writing and the Dorothy Hendry Award for Literary Achievement

Several high schools have been visited so far to start the drumbeats for student writers and student artists to enter HLA’s annual high school literary competition called the Dorothy Diemer Hendry Award for Literary Achievement.  This is the expanded component of HLA’s Young Writers’ Contest, a grand competition for elementary, middle school and high school students.  Young Writers started over 46 years ago as an initiative for the city of Huntsville before expanding to all of Madison County.  Then last year the high school division expanded to several counties in North Alabama while at the same time publishing the winners in what will be an annual publication of HLA called Expressions:  Student Voices in North Alabama.  HLA and Ardent Writer Press will publish this wonderful compilation of short stories and now poetry for the 2014 edition which expanded to all counties in North Alabama, 123 public and private high schools as well as home-schooled high school students.

This week HLA co-chairs for the DDH High School Division, Nancy Corbeille and Steve Gierhart (also publisher of the Ardent Writer Press) as well as Mary Beth Walker, the editor of the monthly HLA newsletter, visited Hatton High, the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, Hartselle High, Randolph School, and James Clemens High for a well-received presentation on the contest.

The sizes of the schools and participants ranged from small groups to large groups, classes in creative writing to creative writing clubs as well as the English classes for all students in grades 9-12 at James Clemens.

The Florence Academy of Fine Arts has a very dedicated and well-versed group of writing students who have entered and won contests at the state and even national level.  Their mentor and teacher, Darlene Freemon, keeps them busy and challenged.  Their classroom has banners, mementos and artwork noting the literary and artistic giants of the past, especially of the Renaissance and medieval times.

Randolph high school students, taught by Mr. Lewis Cobb, have a creative writing club and also participate in a number of competitions and challenge themselves, even with novel-writing.

We did not get to talk to a smaller group of the interested student writers at James Clemens but had the great opportunity of talking to half of the student body at a large high school.  Nevertheless, several students came to us after the presentation with questions and thanks. HLA appreciates wonderful mentors like Ms. Jane Herndon, English Department, for watching out for her students and giving us this privilege.  She worked the details with the high school administration.

Despite recent surgery, Ms. Christy Radford, arranged for a visit with several interested student writers and artists at Harselle High School.  Ms. Radford, an English teacher at Hartselle organized the visit to the brand new high school building.  We were treated to a fantastic lecture hall with raised seating but, more importantly, to the most enthusiastic students.  Several thanked us for giving them this opportunity, so we expect you to come through Hartselle!

HLA talked about all aspects of writing as well as art, soliciting the students to register and tell their fellow student writers and artists about the program.  They also encouraged students to enter the state-wide contest managed by the Alabama Writers’ Forum with which HLA is partnered to enable better writing across all of the state through our separate contests. 

Several more schools are to be visited through December.

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Steve Gierhart Briefs HLA's Young Writers Contest to James Clemens High Students

Steve Gierhart Briefs HLA’s Young Writers Contest to James Clemens High Students

 

HLA member Mary Beth Walker looks on during the presentation to James Clemens High students on HLA's Young Writers' Contest

HLA member Mary Beth Walker looks on during the presentation to James Clemens High students on HLA’s Young Writers’ Contest

 

James Clemens student examines Expressions during HLA presentation on Young Writers

James Clemens student examines Expressions during HLA presentation on Young Writers

 

James Clemens High School students listen to the HLA presentation on Young Writers' Contest

James Clemens High School students listen to the HLA presentation on Young Writers’ Contest

 

Nancy Corbeille talks to Hatton High about HLA's Young Writers' Contest.  Hatton teacher, Monja Parker, arranged for the visit.

Nancy Corbeille talks to Hatton High about HLA’s Young Writers’ Contest. Hatton teacher, Monja Parker, arranged for the visit.

 

Steve Gierhart talks to Hatton High about HLA's Young Writers' Contest.  Hatton teacher, Monja Parker, arranged for the visit.  Here Hatton teacher Lori Crumpton looks on with her advanced placement students.

Steve Gierhart talks to Hatton High about HLA’s Young Writers’ Contest. Hatton teacher, Monja Parker, arranged for the visit. Here Hatton teacher Lori Crumpton looks on with her advanced placement students.

 

HLA members Mary Beth Walker (l) and Steve Gierhart (r), also publisher of the Ardent Writer Press, are seen with Hartselle High English teacher, Christy Radford

HLA members Mary Beth Walker (l) and Steve Gierhart (r), also publisher of the Ardent Writer Press, are seen with Hartselle High English teacher, Christy Radford

 

Students in the advanced creative writing class at Florence High Schools's Academy for Fine Arts examine literature brought by HLA about the Young Writers' Contest, including Expressions 2013: Student Voices from North Alabama.

Students in the advanced creative writing class at Florence High Schools’s Academy for Fine Arts examine literature brought by HLA about the Young Writers’ Contest, including Expressions 2013: Student Voices from North Alabama.

 

Steve Gierhart and Darlene Freemon talk writing with Florence Academy of Fine Art creative writing students.

Steve Gierhart and Darlene Freemon talk writing with Florence Academy of Fine Art creative writing students.

Steve Gierhart
Dale “Steve” Gierhart is a retired business manager for the United States Army. Based in Huntsville, Alabama on Redstone Arsenal, his career lasted from 1975 to 2010 in which he managed contracts, finances/accounting, and cost estimating for several missile defense systems, among which were Stinger, Avenger, Chaparral, Sentinel, JLENS, SLAMRAAM, and Non-Line of Sight.  The author wishes to thank the many co-workers, peers, and contractors who made these programs successful.  It is their tireless work that brought these systems to the soldier that needed them.  While budget constraints made it difficult for some of their work to see its full potential, they never blinked, they adjusted.  They persevered. Steve hails from Shawnee, Oklahoma; but most of his adult life has been spent in the beautiful hills of North Alabama where he lives with his wife, Bonny, who raises Tennessee Walking Horses. Between them, Steve and Bonny have 5 children and 9 grandchildren. Steve enjoys writing now that he is retired and plans more excursions of the imagination. He and Bonny, a retired engineer who worked as a contractor on several NASA and Army programs, will travel in their retirement though 15 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats can crimp the best of plans.