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Mary Helen Washington Writing Award Contest Winners Announced

DETROIT, March 10, 2015 — The Department of English and Modern Languages at Marygrove College has just completed the judging for the fifth year of the Mary Helen Washington Writing Award Contest, offered in conjunction with its Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series (CAALS). Named after nationally-renowned scholar, editor, essayist, and teacher Dr. Mary Helen Washington, and supported through the generosity of series sponsors Lillian and Don Bauder, this annual contest asks students to write essays in response to the works of the CAALS guest artist, which this year is writer and journalist Andrea Lee. Students were asked to present a critical analysis of Lee’s work or offer personal reflections on an aspect of her work that the student writer found significant.

The College is pleased to congratulate the 2015 winners, listed below with their schools:

First Prize:

McKenna Voss of Ferndale High School for her essay titled “My Roots Like to Roam.”

Second Prize (three winners):

Isobel Edwards of Ferndale High School for her essay titled “Identity.”

Emily Cole of Ferndale High School for her essay titled “Family Ties, Everlasting Home, and Definitions in “Anthropology.”

Shannon Gardner from Ferndale High School for her essay titled “A Relationship between Past and Present.”

Honorable Mentions (three winners):

Abdul Mahbub from Cass Technical High School for his essay titled “Helping Hands.”

Sakila Islam of Detroit International Academy for her poem titled “My Sisters Hide Knives in Their Mouths.”

Serene Abdouni from Fordson High School for her essay titled ‘Culture and Heritage.”

The first and second-prize winners will receive their certificates of achievement and awards, and the students receiving honorable mentions will receive their certificates of achievement at the Master Class with Andrea Lee on April 17.

This year marks the 27th Anniversary of the Bauder Contemporary American Authors Lecture, and features a reading and book signing by Ms. Lee, which will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, in Alumnae Hall on the Marygrove College campus. The event is free and open to the public.


Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning. The College’s commitment to the city of Detroit comprises an institutional mission and vision for developing urban leaders. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.
8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221