Student Essay Contest
Shepherd students are encouraged to enter the Common Reading Student Essay Contest. Entries should be emailed to email@example.com and are being accepted now through April 1, 2021. The winner will receive $350 toward Shepherd tuition and/or textbooks. Entries are judged by a panel of three faculty members using a rubric developed by the English Department. Essays written for a specific class or other assignment are acceptable. Choose one of the following prompts related to “Walking to Listen” to write about. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your essay meets submission requirements.
1) What is it about walking? Big George, someone Forsthoefel meets outside of New Orleans, tells him, “all you’re really doing is reading a book, just with your feet” (207). As Forsthoefel notes, “Walking is deep in the dirt bones of this country. It’s practically a religion” (24). There are lots of ways you can respond to this prompt (don’t try to do it all!). Find a way in—a focus—and make an argument about how/why walking itself plays an important role in what Forsthoefel discovers in Walking to Listen.
2) In Alabama, Forsthoefel meets Emma Lou Dailey, a 91-year-old woman whose great-grandfather was once enslaved. As he listens to her, Forsthoefel thinks, “she deserved more fame than most, because of her age and experience and resilience, but there weren’t any crowds outside cheering into her window, no lines of people waiting to hear what she had to say” (166). In his own way, he makes Emma Lou a bit famous, telling her story. Write an essay in which you do something similar: tell the story of someone you think should be a bit more famous and tell us why. Here are the catches, though: it has to be someone you didn’t know before you started this essay. Don’t be afraid to pick an “ordinary” person. Think about the steps Forsthoefel outlines: don’t ask people about “transformations” or their “coming of age.” Instead, “just start talking to people about their lives and…what their lives…taught them.” Look for what he calls “the alchemical moments” that make people.
3) Most college students aren’t going to walk across America. Yet careful readers can pick up on important ideas from Forsthoefel’s book and apply them to their own lives. Write an essay in which you reflect on the lessons from Forsthoefel’s journey that could benefit a college student. In other words, when thinking about their own path to success in college and beyond, what can college students learn from this book?
Community Essay Contest
New this year! Those who don’t qualify as Shepherd students are encouraged to enter the Community Essay Contest. Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and are being accepted now through April 1, 2021. The winner will receive a $200 gift certificate to Four Seasons Bookstore in Shepherdstown, WV. Entries are judged by a panel of three community members. Choose one of the following community essay contest prompts related to “Walking to Listen” to write about. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your essay meets submission requirements.
Guidelines – A winning entry has the following elements:
- A clear and coherent thesis statement/main idea that appears in the first paragraph and clearly relates to the prompt you have selected. A reader should be able to easily identify this sentence and say “THIS is what this paper is about.” A good response is not a summary of the text.
- Textual evidence to support each point and move your argument along. Every claim you make should be supported with evidence from the text. Make sure this evidence is integrated into your overall argument. Do not simply drop in quotations without any analysis (explaining how they advance your main idea). Avoid quoting extremely long passages, especially without analysis.
- A coherent, clear structure. Each paragraph should:
- Move the argument or main idea along.
- Have a strong topic sentence.
- Move to the next section with clear transitions.
- A conclusion. Your piece should have a conclusion that wraps things up, even if all you do is raise more questions.
- Proper formatting. This includes:
- A title for your essay.
- Typed; double-spaced; in a reasonable font (Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 11 pt.); one-inch margins all around; your name, and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page; page numbers should appear on the upper right-hand corner of each page.
- No spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Appropriate length: About 600-750 words (at least 2 full pages). No maximum length limitation.