Everyone has ideas. Everyone has something to say. And in today’s age, everyone has some sort of platform to say it on. But it takes someone special—it takes a writer—to invent the creative packaging necessary to deliver that message to an audience in a compelling way.
Yesterday, we celebrated STM’s short story and poetry writers at the 17th annual May Murphy Thibaudeau Awards. This luncheon is always special, but this year held extra significance for the Thibaudeau and Huennekens families who sponsor and support this event.
Last Sunday we received word that Clairese Huennekens passed away. Clairese adored this event; she loved seeing our students, talking with them, hearing them read their poems and short stories to those assembled. To honor her, over twenty members of her family came to STM this year to help congratulate our young writers and celebrate Clairese’s life once more time before returning to their homes across the country.
Last year when I took over organizing this event, I glowed at the fact that we had a record 88 submissions. It was so impressive that Gregg and Clairese generously opted to add third place winners for every category and every grade level. Well, our students showed up again. By the 3:15 p.m. deadline a few weeks ago, the English Department received 129 total poems and short stories. Several poems and stories that would have won in previous years did not win this year, so the winning young writers, their families, and their friends, should feel exceedingly proud of what they’ve produced.
As are the Huennekens and Thibaudeaus.
When the ceremony ended, I was barraged by members of their families in shock, in awe at the creativity, complexity, and writing abilities of our students. It was a fitting STM tribute and send-off for Clairese, and yet another reminder of the amazing abilities of our students.
Everyone has ideas, and hopefully our STM students have inspired you to finally write that poem or story you’ve always wanted to write, but found every excuse to push it off. I look forward to seeing even more growth in creative writing in the years to come. Happy writing.
English Department Chair