"All of you who contributed to this book write much better than I did in high school." That remarkable observation was made by Pat Conroy in the foreword to the first collection of student writing generated by the South Carolina High School Writing Contest, and it embodies the contest's goals: to encourage young people to write, to think deeply and creatively, to express themselves, and thereby to recognize and cultivate their abilities. This second volume of Writing South Carolina features the insightful and inspiring entries of each of the twenty-nine winners and finalists: high school juniors and seniors who were challenged to share, using any genre, their ideas for making South Carolina a better place to live.
Through essays, poems, and stories, students used their imaginations to celebrate South Carolina and to envision a state that might be improved by addressing civic and social ills, such as domestic violence, racism, drugs, poverty, and educational inequality. Despite being raised in the age of texts and tweets, these young writers offer their unique perspectives—often revealing, thought-provoking, troubling, and exhilarating—in language that is uniquely their own and often eloquent and passionate.
Marjory Wentworth, who provides a foreword to this collection, is South Carolina's poet laureate and has served as a judge for the competition with Pat Conroy.
Steven Lynn is the dean of the University of South Carolina Honors College and Louise Fry Scudder Professor of English.
Aïda Rogers is a writer for the University of South Carolina Honors College and editor of State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, volumes 1 and 2, also published by the University of South Carolina Press.
"We all worry that young people don't read the newspaper or care about politics or social issues; these fine essays, poems and stories prove otherwise. These students are passionate about social justice issues, and they understand the complex links between politics, public spending, and public policy. Their empathy for the least fortunate among us is deeply felt. This is what touched me the most about their writing."—Marjory Wentworth, from the foreword