May Murphy Thibaudeau Writing Awards
 /  May Murphy Thibaudeau Writing Awards
May Murphy Thibaudeau Writing Awards

The May Murphy Thibaudeau Writing Awards give students the opportunity to express themselves through original poetry and short stories. First held in 2001, this annual writing contest celebrates the legacy of local writer May Murphy Thibaudeau  while encouraging students to search their own minds and hearts for sentiments to share through their writing.

May Murphy Thibaudeau lived an admirable, incredibly full life for ninety-six years. Her enthusiasm for life was obvious as she encouraged students to make writing a pattern in their lives.  She explained her purpose for writing: “Experiences never expressed in poem, story or the like become vague and end in oblivion.”


Thibaudeau overcame great adversity to become a successful author. She was raised by her grandparents after her mother died before her second birthday.  She stayed with her aunt who worked as a housekeeper for Milwaukee businessman Frederick Layton.  There, she found the motivation to obtain an education and explore the world.  After attending Milwaukee State Teachers College, now UW-Milwaukee, she taught in one-room schools.  After her marriage to Ray Thibaudeau, she came to South Milwaukee.  In her book, A Little Something of My Days, she shared her feelings about her life with her husband and children.


As an accomplished writer, she was honored at state and local levels.  Into her 90s, she inspired fellow members of Writer’s Ink in Cudahy.  Her books, available at local libraries, capture memories of the past.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “With simple words and insightful prose, May Murphy Thibaudeau saved the stories of many lives, including her own, from oblivion.”


May Murphy Thibaudeau’s spirit is with her family as they gather each year with writers and their parents for the annual May Murphy Thibaudeau Writing Awards luncheon and ceremony.  Her daughter, the late Clairese Huennekens, and son-in-law Gregg (DB ’65), generously sponsor this writing contest in her honor and provide our delightful awards luncheon.

Read the 2017 winning poetry and short stories.

Congratulations to all of our current and past writers!

2017 Poetry
Freshmen: 1st – Ella Westrich, 2nd – Isabel Scerpella, 3rd – Isabel Jimenez
Sophomores: 1st – Antonio Trinidad, 2nd – Kassandra Navarro Padilla, 3rd – Yazmin Rodriguez
Juniors: 1st – Marinelys Pachuca, 2nd – Jacqueline Rodriguez-Curiel, 3rd – Natalia Corona
Seniors: 1st – Fatima Sepulveda, 2nd – Jessica Flynn, 3rd – Anna Kotecki

2016 Poetry
Freshmen: 1st – Estefanny Cruz, 2nd – Melissa Sanchez
Sophomores: 1st – Abigail Kaczynski, 2nd – Jacqueline Rodriguez-Curiel
Juniors: 1st – Jessica Flynn, 2nd – Helen Maier
Seniors: 1st – Sarah Rybacki, 2nd – Sarah Rybacki

2017 Short Stories
Freshmen: 1st – Isabel Scerpella. 2nd – Isabel Jimenez, 3rd – by Isabel Jimenez
Sophomores: 1st – Lennox Doughty, 2nd – Ivan Rojo, 3rd – Emily Martin
Juniors: 1st – Robert Larson, 2nd – Valeria Salinas, 3rd – Kiara Xolo
Seniors: 1st –  Jessica Flynn, 2nd – Lauren King, 3rd – Helen Maier

2016 Short Stories

Freshmen: 1st – Ivan Rojo, 2nd – Ivan Rojo
Sophomores: 1st – Valeria Salinas, 2nd – Marinelys Pachuca
Juniors: 1st – Lauren King, 2nd – Jen Morzfeld
Seniors: 1st – Lindsey Karras, 2nd – Lindsey Karras

2015 Poetry
Freshmen: 1st – Abby Kaczynski, 2nd – Gabrielle Kennedy
Sophomores: 1st – Galilea Sanchez, 2nd – Francesca Hamilton
Juniors: 1st – Lydia Raflik, 2nd – Sarah Rybacki, HM – Lindsey Karras
Seniors: 1st – Sara Magno, 2nd – Sara Magno, HM – Raven Jaso

2015 Short Stories
Freshmen: 1st – Elizabeth Slowik, 2nd – Kataryna Kodaski
Sophomores: 1st – Helen Maier, 2nd – Lauren King
Juniors: 1st – Lindsey Karras, 2nd – Lindsey Karras
Seniors: 1st – Erynn Lewis, 2nd – Raven Jaso

2014 Poetry
Freshmen: 1st – Francesca Hamilton, 2nd – Helen Maier, 2nd – Austin Markiewicz
Sophomores: 1st – Lindsey Karras, 2nd – Sarah Rybacki
Juniors: 1st – Erynn Lewis, 2nd – Connor O’Neill
Seniors: 1st – Nick Cheaney, 2nd – Ashley Johnson, 2nd – Douglas Wicker

2014 Short Stories
Freshmen: 1st – Izzy Boudnik, 2nd – Lauren King, 2nd – Mary Vo
Sophomores: 1st – Edwin Cubias, 2nd – Sarah Rybacki
Juniors: 1st – Angel Fajardo
Seniors: 1st – Mike Cristoforo, 2nd – Adam Zydzik, HM – Da Yeom Eom

2013 Poetry
Freshmen: 1st – Reanna Wicker, 2nd – Sarah Rybacki, 2nd – Devon Swayne
Sophomores: 1st – Nancy Bahena, 2nd – Jazmine Alicea
Juniors: 1st – Michael Cristoforo, 2nd – Ashley Johnson
Seniors: 1st – Azucena Guizar, 2nd – Diana Nunez, HM – Kathryn Jablonowski

2013 Short Stories
Freshmen: 1st – Isabel Miranda, 2nd – Lindsay Post
Sophomores: 1st – Felix Acevedo, 2nd – Erynn Lewis
Juniors: 1st – Ashley Johnson, 2nd – Adam Zydzik, 2nd – Michael Cristoforo
Seniors: 1st – Emily Halas

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St. Thomas More High School
2601 East Morgan Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Phone: (414) 481-8370
Fax: (414) 481-3382
Email: [email protected]

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