Local Students Honored by Maine Humanities Council

Back to Letters About Literature


For More Information:

Leah Kuehn, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051

May 20, 2015


PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council is pleased to announce 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, Linoln 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.