Each year, the James Jones Literary Society sponsors a contest for seniors at area high schools in eastern Illinois. The essays are based on James Jones’s short story “The Valentine,” which was first published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1963 and was later included in The Ice-Cream Headache and Other Stories. The story features a young boy who presents a box of Valentine candy to a favorite girl in his class, and the humiliation and rejection he suffers as a result.
The contest was established by the late Helen Howe, who organized the annual event for many years. A retired English teacher, Howe was a long-time friend of Jones and one of the founders of the JJLS.
First place winners are awarded $75, second place receives $50, and third place receives $25. Honorable mention winners are also recognized. Winners are also presented with a certificate denoting their placement.
JJLS chairperson of The Valentine Essay Contest and finals judge is Diane Reed of Robinson. Special thanks to those who supported the program this year: Jonathon Cook of Robinson High School and Amy Gard of Marshall High School and to Alyson Thompson, director of Marshall Public Library, who presented the awards to Marshall winners.
Robinson’s winners are: 1st place, Brendan Imboden; 2nd place, Emma Goodma; 3rd place, Care Slaughter; and Honorable Mention, Esperanza Murillo.
Above, Robinson’s winners are, from left, Emma Goodma, 2nd Place; Sam Quick, Honorable Mention; Care Slaughter, 3rd Place; Brendan Imboden, 1st Place and Esperanza Murillo, Honorable Mention.
Alyson Thompson, director of Marshall Public Library recently awarded the prizes to the Marshall High School winners. Marshall’s winners are: 1st place, Will Daughtery; 2nd place, Isaac Wood; 3rd place, Daniel Berlin; and Honorable Mention, Olivia Standerfer and Clinton Oberlee.
Above, from left, are English teacher Amy Gard, Olivia Standerfer(Honorable Mention),Clinton Oberlee (Honorable Mention),Daniel Berlin (3rd), Will Daugherty (1st) and Library Director Alyson Thompson. Not pictured – Isaac Wood (2nd)