Palm Beach State College Lox Campus Hosts Writing Contest

Contest finalists and judges with winner Sebastian Sosa-Reese (front).

The Loxahatchee Groves campus of Palm Beach State College recently hosted its second annual “A Picture’s Worth 20 Words” National Day on Writing contest, with the final judging taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The contest is designed to bridge the gap between disciplines, and this year’s four images of inspiration all centered around math. Students had to create 20 words based on one of the images.

Psychology major Sebastian Sosa-Reese was chosen as the overall winner and received $100 in gift cards — and bragging rights — as his prize.

“During this event, students have a chance to showcase their creative writing skills and engage with others beyond the classroom in a fun, low-stakes way,” English Professor Carrie Thompson explained. “Students campus-wide are invited to participate and submit their creative pieces.”

The eight finalists chosen from more than 70 submissions included Sosa-Reese (winner), Karyn Campbell, Suzanna Krell, Lauren Schillinger, Haley Torres, Estefany Arrieta, Genesis Omana (honorable mention) and Victoria Briano (honorable mention).

Sosa-Reese chose an image displaying a Venn diagram — essentially two circles labeled A and B, with a small portion of the circles overlapping.

“I like to keep things simple. I feel like taking complex ideas and turning them into simple words is a great way to reach a lot of people,” Sosa-Reese said. “When I was looking at the pictures, I tried to pick the one that looked the simplest, and two circles, I thought that was pretty simple. What I felt when I wrote [the poem] was just because they match and connect at a certain point does not mean they were meant to be, and ‘A’ could be looking for ‘C’.”

A and B
A connection
Bonded by similarity
Assumed whole
But not completely
Always yearning
But never seeing
A’s heart
Belonged to C

During the on-campus event, before the finalists stepped up to the mic and read their pieces to the crowd and judges, students and faculty enjoyed food, writing games, prizes and various other activities.

“We had students from all over participate, and this is a really great turnout,” said Dr. Kristy Taylor, interim associate dean for academic affairs for the Loxahatchee Groves and Belle Glades campuses. “This is my first opportunity to observe [the contest]. What I learned from this was just seeing the creativity of the students and their being able to take a lot and get it down to 20 concise words that really mean something — that was pretty cool.”

The winner and honorable mentions were announced by student judge Megan Valentine, president of PBSC’s Creative Writing Club and host of the monthly student/faculty open mic nights.