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Wesson student gets writing awards

Writing awards

A Wesson student at the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) has received awards in the 2021 Scholastic Writing Competition.

Diego Mendez, an MSA junior from Wesson, is among the talented young artists receiving American Voices Nominations, Gold Keys, Silver Keys, and Honorable Mentions who will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the Eudora Welty House in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mendez received four Silver Keys and one Honorable Mention. In total, MSA students received one American Voices Nomination, 11 Gold Keys, 39 Silver Keys, 28 Honorable Mention awards and four Silver and 3 Honorable Mention awards for their Senior Portfolios.

Students from all over Mississippi competed in the Mississippi Regional in critical essays, dramatic scripts, flash fiction, humor, journalism, novel writing, personal essays and memoirs, poetry, science fiction and fantasy and short stories; and for seniors only, writing portfolios. The submissions are juried by artists in the field. Among the thousands of writings submitted, only a small percentage will go to the national level. Jurors look for works that exemplify the core values of the awards program -- originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision. American Voices (which are the top five in the competition) and Gold Key recipients will advance to the national competition.

MSA is a public statewide eleventh and twelfth grade residential high school located in Brookhaven, MS on the Historic Whitworth College campus. MSA is for those students who want to explore the arts in an extraordinary way and fills a special need for students with demonstrated talent that need a collegiate level learning experience in the arts that is not widely available across Mississippi. Tenth graders who are interested in visual arts, dance, theatre, vocal music, literary arts or filmmaking must apply online by April 16. The process for admission to MSA includes an on-line application, a virtual audition and interview. Accepted students attend their Junior and Senior years of high school at MSA. The school will be holding Round 2 Auditions for its 2021-22 school year in all areas. All auditions will be virtual. Applications are available at

MSA students consistently win awards for their work on the state, regional and national levels, they hold the #2 highest ACT average in the state, and enjoy an array of college scholarship opportunities. For additional information and an application, visit or email

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