LBW students state winners

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Olivia Fleming of Kinston, left, won first place in the Mary Evelyn McMillan Undergraduate Writing Award and Jessica Williamson of Andalusia, right, won second place.

The statewide spotlight shines on LBW Community College this week as two students were recognized by the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA).

Essays written by Olivia Fleming of Kinston and Jessica Williamson of Andalusia impressed literary judges in a statewide essay contest, earning them ACETA’s Mary Evelyn McMillan Undergraduate Writing Award first and second place respectively.

“Miss Fleming’s memoir ‘Epiphany’ is gripping, emotionally charged, and relatable,” said Shannon Graham, LBWCC MacArthur campus English instructor. “I am thrilled that she received this deserved award because she is a bright, ambitious, and talented student who represents herself and LBWCC so highly.”

Fleming, originally from Auburndale, Fla., now lives in a family home in Kinston. She said she was happy when she learned of the award, and did not realize her writing competed against submissions from students across the state in both community colleges and universities.

“That makes me even more excited,” said the 2011 Auburndale High School graduate and anthropology major. “At the time I wrote it, I didn’t think anybody but the instructor would be reading it.”

The choice to major in anthropology combines her love of reading, history and study of cultures, she said. She plans to continue her studies to obtain a doctorate degree and hopes to eventually become a museum curator.

Williamson is a mother of two and completing her second of four semesters in the LBWCC honors program.

“This is the first paper I’ve written since my ninth year of high school,” she said. “I am a GED recipient and was changing oil before deciding to pursue my education.

“I was honored just to be nominated,” she said. “To have an instructor think I had written something worthy of being nominated was a big deal to me.”

Dr. Steve Hubbard, English instructor on the Andalusia campus, said Williamson’s essay “Bay to Butte” more than filled all the required textbook elements for a memoir.

“It was the best essay I received fall semester,” he said. “In a consistently reflective voice, it was an engaging story, with vivid details and clear significance.”

Williamson is researching the possibility of obtaining a four-year degree in nursing after graduating from LBWCC.

“I want to achieve a level of education to make a good living for myself and my family. This area is home, so my plans are to settle here once I complete my education.”

LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel said he is proud of everyone involved.

“We are very proud of our two award-winning students, Olivia and Jessica,” Ridel said. “They are an inspiration to all of us.

“I also commend our faculty members, Ms. Graham and Dr. Hubbard, for their outstanding work with our students, for recognizing the potential of these winning essays, and for submitting them,” he said.