CLC students win literary awards at regional competition

College of Lake County submission
Updated 12/17/2018 11:16 AM

College of Lake County writers won five of 12 awards, including two first-place finishes, at the 2017 Illinois Skyway Conference Writers' Festival and Writing Competition Nov. 15 at Morton College in Chicago Heights.

• The CLC student winner in the drama category was "Lucy" by Willow Baartz of Grayslake, who took first place.


• For fiction, Tomoko Funahashi of Mundelein took first place with "Sacred" and also received an honorable mention with "Puppy Business." Apple Rhodes Gunther of Lake Forest placed third with "Indian Oaks."

• In creative nonfiction, "Writing the Broken Heart" by Liam Mellon of Mundelein finished first, and "Obsessive Compulsive" by Evalyn F. Elbe of Waukegan finished second.

"It takes a lot of courage and determination for students to submit their work for review. The writing programs at CLC offer a welcoming, encouraging space for writers to explore their potential," said Michael Latza, English professor and editor of CLC's award-winning journal, Willow Review.

One of the winning writers who has flourished at CLC is Willow Baartz, who entered the competition while enrolled in two English courses: Creative Writing (ENG 222) taught by English professor Brigid Bell and Introduction to Scripts for Screen (ENG 220) taught by English professor Elizabeth Aiossa.

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"I was ecstatic to hear that I received a first-place award," Baartz said. "My piece was a part of a larger one that I have been working on for several years, and I couldn't have been more excited to hear that the judges liked it. In my story, the main character, Jodie Booker, is an assassin who works for a private company. In my screenplay, Jodie and her boyfriend go to her daughter's grave, and Jodie tells him the story of how she lost her daughter."

Baartz, who will transfer to Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis for the spring 2019 semester, plans to major in English education. Her career goal is to become an English professor and write film scripts on the side.

"All of my CLC English professors have been extraordinarily wonderful," Baartz said. "They are the ones who helped me realize my love for writing, and they showed me how I can incorporate my writing into my future."

The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference provides competition in athletics and academics for its eight member schools, which include Morton College in Cicero, Elgin Community College, Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Prairie State College in Chicago Heights and College of Lake County in Grayslake.

College of Lake County offers classes at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan, or online.

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