Students follow in Johnson’s footsteps with journal contest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Times have changed a little since William Johnson’s days in the 1800s, but the experiment of keeping a journal can still be the same.

Area high school and college students who participated in the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration’s Journal Writing Contest did just what Johnson did, and some are receiving accolades for their work.

English class assignments for the contest instructed students to write a journal entry each day for two weeks. Natchez High, Trinity Episcopal, Cathedral School and Copiah-Lincoln Community College students participated.

Email newsletter signup

For Trinity senior Jessica Vines, keeping a journal was nothing new since she’s been doing it since 2001, and it is something she said has been therapeutic.

&uot;You keep things inside you, but you can just write them down then forget about them,&uot; she said. &uot;And if you need them, you can go back and read it.&uot;

Former English teacher and judging committee chairman Carolyn Gwin said it was interesting to see what today’s youth were doing.

&uot;It was an effort to see what was going on in the modern world,&uot; Gwin said. &uot;They write very well and with a great sense of detail, and as you read you can spot the ones who just put something on paper.

&uot;It was interesting to see how honest they were about their everyday activities.&uot;

Cathedral’s Claire White said the assignment fell on a perfect week for her, over Thanksgiving break.

&uot;My dad and I went on a trip to visit some colleges,&uot; White said. &uot;I did it at night and would do some of it on the plane.&uot;

Ten winners from each school were chosen and from the high school winners 10 were selected to read their entries on &uot;Rural Voices Radio&uot; on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The students traveled to Jackson to tape the programs and they will air this month.

Cathedral senior Drew Belle Zerby was one of the 10 chosen for the radio broadcast. Zerby said keeping the journal was a new thing for her.

&uot;It was time consuming, I had to make time to catch up,&uot; Zerby said.

The contest winners will receive two free tickets to a jazz concert to be held during the NLCC.

&uot;We were impressed with the writing abilities of each student,&uot; said Carolyn Vance Smith, founder and co-chairman of the NLCC.

&uot;All of the journal entries provided a unique and valuable reflection on the city of Natchez.&uot;

The NLCC will be Feb. 23-27.