High-School Students Recognized in UA’s ‘Mockingbird’ Essay Contest

  • February 3rd, 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — High-school student winners in The University of Alabama’s 15th annual “To Kill A Mockingbird” Essay Contest will be recognized on campus with a luncheon and awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in the Ferguson Center Ballroom Friday, Feb. 5.

The essay contest is hosted, for the first time, by UA’s College of Communication & Information Sciences.

Contest submissions were accepted from high-school students across the state of Alabama. Each participating school chose a winning entry, and a monetary prize will be given to the school winners at Friday’s luncheon.

One student will be named the statewide winner and receive a $500 cash prize for themselves and a $500 cash prize for their school.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Bragg, a professor of writing in UA’s journalism department, will give the keynote address at the event.

The essay contest began in 2001 to recognize author Harper Lee’s induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor. Participants were required to write a 500-750 word essay about how the book remains relevant to readers in today’s society.

Sponsors of this years contest include: University Libraries, the Alabama Center for the Book, Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Alabama Heritage, the Alabama Press Association, the Alabama Alumni Association, Early College, the College of Education, New College and the Honors College.

The 2016 school winners include:

Betty Araya, Chelsea High School

Emily Banks, Berry High School

Madison Barron, Southside High School

Hannah Blankenship, Whitesburg Christian Academy

Harper Blount, Tuscaloosa Academy

Lynleigh Byram, Lynn High School

Lauren Choi, Spain Park High School

Seth Conn, Bessemer Academy

Mary Brook Diamond, Evangel Christian School

James Dixon, Altamount School

Emma Dunnam, Monroe Academy

Megan Gangl, Madison County High School

Conor Gilpin, Shades Mountain Christian School

Amelia Harrison, Buckhorn High School

Elizabeth Harvey, Benjamin Russell High School

James Thomas Holt, Reeltown High School

Jeremy Jones, John Carroll Catholic High School

Rachel Lanier, Brookwood High School

Leah Leary, Central High School of Clay County

Mary Grace Long, Evangel Classical Christian School

Peyton Mathews, Straughn High School

Claudia Mitchell, Hillcrest High School

David Moorer, Millry High School

Sarah Oetken, McGill-Toulin High School

Anna Shipman, Winston County High School

Caroline Smith, Providence Christian School

Sarah Van Winkle, Athens High School

Emmanuel Vanderson, Russell County High School

Amanda Vick, Shelby County High School

Alleigh Ward, Cherokee County High School

Sarah White, Pinson Valley High School

Erica Williams, Geraldine High School


Hailey Grace Steele, College of Communication & Information Sciences, hailey.g.steele@ua.edu, 205/348-6416

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.