Today@Sam Article

Contests Offer Prizes For Engaging 'Enrique'

Oct. 15, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Dawine Bergeron

Sam Houston State University's Common Reader Program is giving students the opportunity to earn more than $2,000 in scholarships through contests designed to encourage students to interpret and express themes in this year’s common reader, “Enrique’s Journey,” written by Sonia Nazario.

Enrique's Journey coverThrough the contests, students have the opportunity to bring different themes in the book to life through art, education, two different essay contests (a narrative essay and freshman essay), poetry, social media, and research.

The art contest, sponsored by the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery, offers students the opportunity to create art based on the themes presented in the book.

“These contests aren’t just about the book; they’re about a student’s journey and how everyone has a story tell. The art contest, as well as all of the other contests, allows students to reflect on Enrique’s story with their own journey,” said Gayle Bullard, Lowman Student Center Reservations Coordinator.

The best of show winner will be awarded $250, the second place winner will be awarded $150, and honorable mention will be awarded $100. The deadline for this contest is Nov. 10.

The College of Education is sponsoring a classroom design competition, which encourages students to analyze the needs of the children in the book based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and design a classroom that meets those needs.

The deadline for this contest is Nov. 2.

The essay contest, sponsored by the English department, allows writers to take the readers on a journey of their own by engaging them with vivid and memorable narratives. The essays may be written in first or third person and may tell the writer’s story or someone else’s. 

“When students read a book, they’re being spoken to by listening to the author. On the contest side of the equation, this is an opportunity for students to speak back, or engage artistically, intellectually and creatively in responding to the author’s work,” said Scott Kaukonen, associate professor of English.

One $250 scholarship will be given to the winner, and the deadline for entries is Nov. 2.

The freshman essay contest, sponsored by New Student Orientation, is open to all first-time freshmen. This competition encourages students to address timely, relevant, and cross-disciplinary topics affecting students.

One $500 scholarship will be given to the winner, and the deadline for entries is Nov. 2.

The poetry and lyric contest, sponsored by PACE, requires students to illustrate certain universal truths about the human condition that Nazario reveals to readers through the main characters using specific examples from the book.

Two prizes of $250 will be given to one first-time freshman and one upperclassman. The deadline for entries is Oct. 26.

The research poster contest, sponsored by the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, requires students to develop a research project and produce a research poster presentation in which they will analyze one of the topics suggested in the curriculum guide or develop their own topic with their faculty and adviser.

One $500 scholarship will be given to the winner, and the deadline for entries is Nov. 2.

In addition to these contests, the social media daily question contest, sponsored by the Newton Gresham Library and campus community, is open to all students, as well as faculty and staff members.

Contestants must like the library’s Facebook page and answer the daily question the same day that the question is posted.

Winners will be notified via Facebook, and prizes, which vary daily, must be collected within a week of winning. 

“The common reader contests have grown tremendously over the years,” said Kay Angrove, director of Sam Houston State University’s First-Year Experience. We started off with two and now are able to offer seven, thanks to the support of departments across campus.

“These contests allow an interdisciplinary focus on the common reader selections. Students from all departments, who might otherwise not participate in the reading of the book are now able to participate because of the diverse contests we offer,” said Angrove.

All contest participants must be full-time students.

For more information on the contests or on how to submit your entries, contact Angrove at 9366.294.3423 or


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