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Wayne State to Host Fifth Annual Language Arts Festival


Wayne State College will host its fifth annual Language Arts Festival on April 17 for students in grades seven through 12. Students, teachers and parents are invited to participate in workshops on writing, literature, and language from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Students are invited to submit original fiction and poetry to a writing contest and bring posters to an on-campus competition. The five best stories and poems from each grade will be published in an anthology. First-place winners of all contests will receive medals. Entries must be received by Feb. 20.


Presenters will include Nebraska writers Barbara Schmitz, Karen Wingett, Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason. The visiting author will be Jason Glaser, author of books on mythology, history, science, and sports, and scriptwriter of graphic nonfiction books. The festival is organized by Dr. Janet Gilligan, professor of English at WSC.


Wayne State College faculty and English education students will also give interactive workshops. Workshops in the past have included topics such as Elements of Horror Fiction, Quiz Bowl, Magnetic Poetry, Grammar Bingo, Poetry Slam, Playing Around with Words and Charades: Your Favorite Stories. 


Writing Contest
Students in grades seven through 12 can submit short stories or poems to a writing contest. The WSC Press will publish an anthology of the best short stories and poems for each grade.


Short Stories
Short stories may be original fiction of any genre — for example, fantasy, realism, science fiction or historical fiction. The stories should be well-written and carefully edited. Individuals may submit only one entry in the short story contest but may submit poetry as well as a short story. Short stories must be no less than 1000 words and no more than 3000 words in length.


Poems must be original works on any subject, rhymed or free-verse, not to exceed 2 typed double-spaced pages in length. Individuals may submit a short story and poetry or several poems.


How to Submit
Submissions should be written on a word processor using Microsoft Word if possible; they should be double-spaced, in a standard 12-point font, preferably Arial. Stories and poems must be submitted as attachments to an e-mail. No hard copies will be accepted. In the e-mail, give your name, grade, school, school address, teacher, telephone number, and the title of your story. Attach a copy of your story to the e-mail.


Give the file containing your story a title in this order:

  • Your grade
  • The first three letters in your school’s name in capital letters
  • st in lower case if a story, po in lower case if a poem
  • Your last name.
  • Examples: 7LAWstJones (a story from a 7th grader at Lawton Bronson)
  • 12PAPpoSmith (a poem from a 12th grader at Papillion)

This is very important. This information will ensure that your story or poem is placed in the right grade category and that no entries are lost.


On the story itself, type the following information in the top left-hand corner of the first page:
            E-mail Address


All rights to the composition remain the property of the author. Permission by the author is given for one-time publication. Entries must be received by Feb. 20. Send all entries to


Evaluating Writing
Review of the submitted writings will begin Feb. 23. Faculty members from the School of Humanities and English education students will read and evaluate all entries. They will select the five best short stories and poems in each grade. Authors of the short stories and poems selected for the anthology will be notified via e-mail.


Each student whose work is selected as one of the best five in each grade will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology. If funds permit, a copy will be made available to each student attending the festival. Additional copies of the anthologies will be available for $15 each.


Poster Competition
Students are invited to bring posters promoting the language arts. These may focus on literature, reading, writing, or other language skills. These will be judged at the event and medals will be awarded to the best entries.


No entry fee is required. All expenses for travel and meals are the responsibility of the student attending the Language Arts Festival. Lunch in the Wayne State College cafeteria is $5.50.


It is not necessary to submit an entry to attend the festival. 


Teachers who plan to bring groups of students should complete the registration form below. 

Wayne State College Language Arts Festival Registration 
Mail or e-mail before March 31.

Teacher’s Name_____________________________________________________


School Address_____________________________________________________


Number of students attending___________________

Number of others attending____________________

How many students are bringing posters to the competition? ________


Individual students who are attending may fill out the form below.

Wayne State College Language Arts Festival Registration 
Mail or e-mail before March 31.



School Address_____________________________________________


Are you bringing a poster to the competition? ________


Mail the forms to                               
Janet Gilligan
Language Arts Festival
Department of Literature and Language
Wayne State College
1111 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
or e-mail them to


For further information, write or call
Janet Gilligan
Department of Literature and Language
Wayne State College
1111 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787

402-375-7151 or 402-375-4690



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