Students honored by Maine Humanities Council

The Maine Humanities Council  announced the winners of the 2015 Letters About Literature contest. Elizabeth “Lacey” Brune of the Center for Teaching and Learning won the Level 1 (grades 4 – 6) competition, Gabriel Ferris of Waterville Junior High School won the Level 2 (grades 7 – 8) competition, and Rosemary Wood of Gorham High school won the Level 3 (grades 9 – 12) competition. Please see below for the list of semifinalists.

Letters About Literature is a national contest that invites students to write a letter to any author, living or dead, whose work deeply changed their view of the world or themselves. The Maine Humanities Council, which is the Maine affiliate of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book, holds this competition with national sponsorship from the Library of Congress and local sponsorship from the David Royte Foundation.

“There are so many young, engaged readers in this state,” says Hayden Anderson, Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council. “We are proud of their achievements and love that there is this much energy and enthusiasm around reading. Their interpretations lead to a greater engagement with literature around the state.”

There were 1,104 entries from Maine in this year’s contest.

First-place winners receive $100 from the Maine Humanities Council. Second-place winners receive a $25 gift card to Powell’s Books, an independent online bookseller. All semi-finalists receive a certificate of achievement for their outstanding letters.

This year’s semi-finalists are:

Level 3 (grades 9-12)

First Place: Rosemary Wood, Gorham High School, about Perks of Being a Wallflower Second Place: Madison Stover, Mt. Ararat High School, about The Fault in Our Stars Honorable Mention: Lumin Phan, Lincoln Academy, about Lolita


  • Evan Eckel, Lincoln Academy, about 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Isabel Halperin, Greely High School, about Burned
  • Emilee McGillicuddy, Greely High School, about A Long Way Gone
  • Julianna Preston, Lincoln Academy, about Lord of the Flies
  • Carly Randsdell, Lincoln Academy, about Three Lives
  • Estelle Reardon, Wells High School, about The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Anna Sirois, Lincoln Academy, about The Great Gatsby
  • Emily Wood, Bangor High School, about Howl

Level 2 (grades 7 & 8)

First Place: Gabriel Ferris, Waterville Junior High School, about Steve Jobs Second Place: Julia Ryan, Scarborough Middle School, about I Am Malala Honorable Mention: Phoebe Allen, D. Mahoney Middle School, about It’s Kind of a Funny Story


  • Jane Fulton, Frank Harrison Middle School, about Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
  • Bennet Gies, Camden Rockport Middle School, about The Closer
  • Audrey Goessling, Frank Harrison Middle School, about Giraffe and Pelly and Me
  • Jacob Lewis, William S. Cohen Middle School, about Be Different
  • Morgan Maddock, Scarborough Middle School, about Letters to God
  • Tory McGrath, Cape Elizabeth Middle School, about Living History
  • Lauren Paradise, Lyman Moore Middle School, about The Invention of Wings
  • Sydney Solomon, Veazie Community School, about Divergent
  • Madeline Tiner, Saint Domenic Academy, about Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner
  • Abby Vigue, Wells Junior High School, about The Giving Tree

Level 1 (grades 4-6)

First Place: Elizabeth (Lacey) Brune, Center for Teaching and Learning, about El Deafo Second Place: Maxwell White, Hartford Sumner Elementary School, about The Lightning Thief Honorable Mention: Isabel Kidwell, Mary Snow School, about The Tale of Despereaux


  • Grace Dittmer, Scarborough Middle School, about Coraline
  • Seraphina Gillman, Mount Desert Elementary, about Orchards
  • Casey Maddock, Scarborough Middle School, about Awake and Dreaming
  • Jaidyn Negley, Greene Central School, about Into the Wild
  • Katie Sanborn, Center for Teaching and Learning, about Always and Forever
  • Aarav Singh, Mary Snow School, about “Alone” by Maya Angelou

The deadlines for the 2016 contest will be announced in early fall.

About Maine Humanities Council
The Maine Humanities Council is an independent, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the people of Maine deepen their understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world. The Council works with volunteer literacy programs, educators, school systems, and libraries to promote the power and pleasure of ideas through its programming; the Council also provides grants supporting projects in community history, exhibits, workshops, and other areas of study.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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