news-category: Campus News

Gardner-Webb English Department and Broad River Review Host Foothills Writers Day

Students Hear from Four GWU Alumni who are Young Authors, and May Tate wins First Place in Contest

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—High school students from five nearby counties recently participated in Foothills Writers Day on the Gardner-Webb University campus. Sponsored by the Department of English Language and Literature and the Broad River Review, the literary magazine of GWU, the event featured four GWU alumni, who shared about their work as young writers. The winners of the Foothills Writing Contest were also announced. The contest was open to ninth- through 12-graders in Cleveland, Gaston, Rutherford, Lincoln or Polk counties in North Carolina.

First place winner, May Tate, right, a ninth-grader at Lake
Lure (N.C.) Classical Academy, poses with her teacher,
Margie Askins.

“The Department of English was excited to once again host the Foothills Writers Day on campus,” noted Department Chair Dr. Chris Davis. “This year’s theme of ‘Young Writers at Work’ presented a unique opportunity for regional high school students to meet and spend the day with our GWU alumni visiting writers.”

May Tate, a ninth-grade student at Lake Lure (N.C.) Classical Academy, won first prize with her entry “A Portrait of Many Colors.” She won a $100 Amazon gift care and her personal essay will be considered for publication in the Broad River Review.

“The departmental reading committee for the Foothills Writing Contest was impressed with the variety and high quality of the entries this year,” noted English department Chair Dr. Chris Davis. “However, May Tate’s personal essay rose above the others in an obvious way. Tate’s sophisticated use of language and her willingness to be vulnerable on the page are remarkable qualities of her writing.”

Tate is active in drama, having performed in a total of five theater productions in the last three years. She won an Excellence in Acting award from the North Carolina Theater Conference the first year she attended, and this year, the cast from her school won five awards as well as Honorable Mention. She is a freshman representative for Student Council and freshman Homecoming Princess. Tate has also received school awards in cheerleading, academics, and general leadership. She is a member of the Sunshine High School Student Kindness club.

Honorable Mentions were presented to:

  • Wyatt Smith, Gaston Day School, “Dropping Off.
  • Hadley Throckmorton, Gaston Day School, “A Death.”

They each received a $50 Amazon gift card.

Other finalists included:

  • Madison Aliano, North Lincoln High School, “The Veil.”
  • Ava Kipp, Gaston Day School, “Letter to Seth Avett.”
  • Kensley Marlowe, Burns High School, “Anxiety.”
  • Matilda McDaniel, Gaston Day School, “Beautiful Girl.”
  • Genevieve McGrath, Gaston Day School, “A Coffee Date with Death.”
From left, Gardner-Webb alumni attending Foothills Writers Day, were Jen Guberman, Kait McNeilly, Faith Noel Augustine and A.G. Hilton.

The Gardner-Webb alumni who attended were:

  • Faith Noel Augustine, ‘23, author of “Lydia” and “The Hot Spring Lions Society.”
  • Jen Guberman, ‘17, author of “The Eos Dawn” series and “Thieves of Joy.”
  • A.G Hilton, ’17, author of “Nightside Tales.”
  • Kait McNeilly, ‘15, author of “Ephemeral Arteries.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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