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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Erika Neldner

Pictured left to right: John Midkiff, Justin Jones, Dawn Major, Alyssa Hamilton and Hannah Olson.

In an intimate atmosphere in University Theater, five of the
six students received their hard-earned Master of Fine Arts in Creative
Writing. An injury kept one student from walking at graduation but she was
represented by her classmates and a bold, orange and yellow stuffed chameleon
in her chair.
“If you haven’t yet noticed the bright orange and yellow
fellow sitting among us, let me point him out. He is the one without the
wizardly garb. He represents the absence of our fellow classmate and writer,
Jennie Mayes,” said MFA graduate Dawn Major. “Even though she is not physically
present, everyone who knows and loves her brought a piece of her here today.”
This group of writers has been together for two years, some
studying from afar and coming to Reinhardt’s picturesque campus for a 10-day
intensive each summer.
“The Class of 2019 is an extraordinary group of
students who will go on to be accomplished writers. I have no doubt about it,”
said Bill Walsh, director of the MFA in Creative Writing program. “They have
worked very hard over the past two years and have distinguished themselves. I
look forward to seeing their careers flourish and their books in the library
and bookstores.”
The keynote speaker for the second MFA Commencement Ceremony
held June 29 was renowned southern writer, George Singleton, who read his own
writings interspersing wisdom to inspire the graduates as they embark on their
writing careers.

“It’s more important to be a mule when you’re a writer. Be a mule. They are stubborn, they are all about self-preservation. I want you to remember the dogs may bark but the caravan rolls on,” Singleton said.

He shared with the graduates that though they may constantly
write and it may seem that others are getting their book deals and their
awards, he cautioned them not to lose hope.

“The time will come,” he said.

During the ceremony, three Dr. Robert Driscoll Awards were
given. The award honors writing pertaining to the Etowah Valley and is awarded
to students who have written most noteworthy on or about nature, have
contributed to a special project in nature or have expressed interest in a
particular subject or activity regarding nature.
The MFA Faculty also give awards to deserving students for
their work in the program. This year, the first place Faculty Choice in
Excellence Award was given to Dawn Major, and the second-place award went to
Alyssa Hamilton.

Congratulations to the MFA Class of 2019:

Hannah Christine Goldman, of Littleton, Colorado, leaves the
MFA program with her works, “Into the Other: James Dickey’s Poetic Voice” and
“Grave Children.”
Alyssa Hamilton, of Watertown, Connecticut, created “Compos
Mentis: Control, Distortion, and Reader Identity in Calvino’s ‘If on a winter
night a traveler,'” and “Juniper.”
Justin Bryant Jones, of Canton, wrote “Like a Charcoal Fire
Sketched across the Waste: Figurative Language in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road'”
and “The Mudsnake.”
Dawn Ann Major, of Atlanta, completed her works “A Southern
Mythology: An Exploration of the Supernatural in the Worlds of William Gay” and
“The Bystanders.”
Jennie Mayes, of Atlanta, penned “Reassessing E.M. Forster’s
People in Aspects of the Novel” and “Prism Keeper.”
John Patrick Scott Midkiff, of Huntington, West Virginia
wrote “Braiding, Connecting, and the Importance of Associative Thinking:
Examining the Braided Essay through the Braided Essay” and “A War on