Central alumni win prestigious writing award


Courtesy of Ms. Angelique Burrell

Norman Mailer Semifinalist Emily Morse (second from the right) poses with her Honors Seminar in Writing class last year.

Hinsdale Central recently recognized four of its students for being selected as 2014 Norman Mailer Writing Award Semifinalists for the High School Creative Non-Fiction Writing Award Competition.

Only 19 students were recognized throughout the entire country, making this achievement even more remarkable for those who were awarded.

Those selected include Julian Kanagy, Emily Morse, Caitlin Wong, and Dania Noghnogh, all from the graduating class of 2014.

“It’s a huge deal for Hinsdale Central,” said David Lange, head of the English Department. “We felt a lot of pride for the teachers here, because the students are sending in stuff they have been working on in class so it makes us feel like our eyes are on the right prize: that we’re helping kids not only do well in school, getting A’s and B’s, but also finding an audience outside of this place.”

According to the National Council of Teachers of English website, the papers which were submitted were “read by national panels of teachers and writers” and were “judged by how well they achieve several qualities, including the artful treatment of subject matter; originality; quality of insight; image; voice; and style; artful arrangement of elements and materials’ and overall aesthetic, emotional or intellectual effect.”

This panel of teachers and writers will narrow down these 19 semifinalists to several finalists.

This isn’t the first time Central has been recognized for a Norman Mailer Creative Nonfiction Writing Award. In 2011, two students were named as finalists followed by one finalist and two semifinalists in 2013.

“We had quite a run in other awards too,” Lange said. “The National Council of Teachers of English, which is another national award had four or five winners per year. There’s another one called Illinois Association of Teachers of English, and we’ve gotten those significantly.”

The English Department has certainly gained a very high reputation with students and teachers winning significant awards.