Winners in the annual James Jones Literary Society essay competition included RHS students (above, from left) Brady Harp, Cassidy Sowle, Lindsay Watts, Josh Avery, Mychal Lowrance, Kaylee Servison and Andrew Scott.
Palestine High School students (above, from left) Mariah Butcher, Payton Woodward, Carson Green and Grant Kiger. Not pictured is PHS student Alex McDaniel. (Submitted photos)
James Jones' influence continues to be felt locally.
Even as new digital editions of his books promise to expose his work to new audiences, the James Jones Literary Society is presenting awards to winners of an annual essay contest based on one of his short stories.
Students were asked to choose from several possible theses about Jones' story "The Valentine." Jones, who was born in Robinson, also spent several years at the Handy Writers' Colony in Marshall following WWII. "The Valentine" is among the 13 tales included in "The Ice-Cream Headache and Other Stories," Jones' only collection of short stories.
Originally published in 1965, it is among the nine Jones books that will be offered in new ebook versions beginning May 10.
"The Valentine" tells the story of a young boy who saves money to buy a box of Valentine candy for a girl who hardly knows he exists, only to be rejected. Jones considered it one of his favorites.
High schools participating in the contest this year were Palestine, Robinson and Marshall. The awards to Robinson and Palestine winners were made by Diane Reed of Robinson, "Valentine" chairperson and a member of the JJLS board of directors.
This year's winners from Robinson High School teacher Janelle Oxford's Composition and Analysis class were Josh Avery, first place; Cassidy Sowle second place; and Kaylee Servison third place. Brady Harp, Lindsay Watts, Mychal Lowrance and Andrew Scott all received honorable mention.
Winners from Stephanie England's Composition class at Palestine High School were Payton Woodward, first; Alex McDaniel, second; and Carson Green, third. Mariah Butcher and Grant Kiger both received honorable mention.
In Marshall, the first-place winner was Maddie Thompson. Honorable mention went to Shelby Sanderfer and Whitney Stepp.