Clark State honors winners of regional essay, poetry contests

Clark State College honored the winners of the 2021 Voices of the Valley Poetry and annual essay contests.

Students in the Clark State Creative Writer Club, under the guidance of faculty advisors Chris Bays and Tabitha Parker, hosted the contest and the second annual on-campus essay contest this past spring, according to a release from the school. The poetry contest’s theme was “Hope in a time of crisis; recovery from stressors of life” and the essay contest focused on well-research essays.

The essay winners are:

First place – Natalie Jones’ “Traumatic Experiences Lead to Obesity”

Second place – Gracie Northington’s “Brave Women of World War I”

Third place – Joy Plassenthal’s “Homosexuals Should Be Allowed to Adopt”

The contest was judged by Associate Professor Tabitha Parker, Professor Chris Bays and Arvilla Fee, editor of Voices of the Valley, Clark State’s student journal.

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The poetry contest, which is open to area high schools, colleges and universities, were submitted by students from Antioch College, Beavercreek High School, Benjamin Local High School, Cedarville University, Clark-Shawnee High School, Clark State College, Southeastern Local High School, The Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College and Wittenberg University, the release stated.

The poetry contest winners are:

Tied for first place –Nikki Mae Howard from Wittenberg University for “Playing with ghosts in the garden: an alternative to suicide” and Amaya Williams from Clark-Shawnee High School for “Cataclysm”

Second place – Mykel Cook from Clark State for “Our Movement”

Third place – Kjersten Stromberg from Clark State for “One College Night”

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The contest was judged without sight of student names by D. Scot Hinson, Associate Professor of English at Wittenberg University; Tabitha Parker, Associate Professor of English at Clark State; and Arvilla Fee, student editor of Voices of the Valley as well as an award-winning poet and Adjunct Professor at Clark State.

Honorable mention winners of the poetry contest include:

Luke Ault from Clark-Shawnee High School for “Antithesis”

Emma Foster from Cedarville University for “The Life Giver”

Anna-Claire Crichton from Wittenberg University for “perhaps, nothing”

The winning submissions can be read in Clark State’s student journal Voices of the Valley 2021, Issue 4. To purchase a copy, or for students interested in participating in the spring 2022 contests, contact Chris Bays at or Tabitha Parker at

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