Perpich News

Literary Arts Celebrates the 2021 Minnesota Regional Scholastic Writing Awards

February 2, 2021

Perpich Literary Arts students and staff are celebrating another year of Scholastic Arts hard work and success!

We are very pleased to announce the 2021 Minnesota Regional Scholastic Writing Awards! Congratulations to the Perpich Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention award winners and our inspiring faculty! With this list of impressive students, Perpich ranks in the top four schools in Minnesota of those receiving the most awards in all categories.

Shannon Hannigan, Literary Arts Instructor, said, “I believe that 2020-21 will be the one school year that we all remember, often for difficult reasons. Students and teachers have been pushed and tested in new ways we had never dreamed of. And yet, Perpich Literary Arts students have shown such remarkable resilience and adaptability that they have made this an unforgettable year for its successes! They have responded to the challenging situation of distance learning with heartwarming perseverance, showing up every day, ready to work and learn and create. The Lit students have supported each other, inspired each other, and even though they have spent very little time in the same (physical) room together, I think they have become especially close, emotionally and creatively. By learning to trust one another with their writings and with their critique, each student has also learned to value and trust their own voice. Thus, the brave act of choosing, polishing, and submitting work to a prestigious writing contest becomes a natural step.”

Perpich 2021 Regional Scholastics Writing Awards – 9 students submitted work, 22 awards received
In recognition of this year’s challenges, all will receive an award for participation.
  • 5 Gold Key awards
  • 4 Silver Key awards
  • 12 Honorable Mention awards
  • 1 American Voices Nominee

Bryn Croyle Johnson was nominated for the American Voices Award. Bryn’s nominated piece is below. The American Voices Award is the top regional award. All pieces submitted from all grade levels and categories can be nominated. This year, there were 364 total entries and only five (5) are nominated from the state. Those pieces are judged by authors at the national level.

GOLD KEYS will move onto the national adjudication with awards announced early Spring.

March 17, 2021 – National Awards are announced
June 9, 2021 – National Ceremony

Gold Key works are automatically considered for national recognition.

  • Claire Casey, Flash Fiction Shellenburger’s Pet Supply
  • Bryn Croyle Johnson, Poetry Old Blood *Gold Key and American Voices Nominee
  • Savanna Ferrera, Flash Fiction A thousand eyes
  • Savanna Ferrera, Poetry Quintessence: a collection
  • Liv Newman, Poetry My Father in Six Words or Less


  • Claire Casey, Personal Essay & Memoir Lake Michigan
  • Savanna Ferrera, Personal Essay & Memoir What is Home?
  • Rylee Reese, Poetry Don’t Be You
  • Rosella Stewart, Personal Essay & Memoir Redneck Weekends


  • Willa Cantlon, Personal Essay & Memoir A Collection of Thoughts from my Backyard
  • Willa Cantlon, Poetry The Sky a Dome
  • Willa Cantlon, Personal Essay & Memoir The Female Experience
  • Claire Casey, Short Story Under the Ice
  • Claire Casey, Personal Essay & Memoir Papaoutai
  • Ruby Coyle, Poetry Heritage Hills
  • Bryn Croyle Johnson, Poetry A Childhood in Streams
  • Savanna Ferrera, Poetry Things I didn’t know
  • Liv Newman, Personal Essay & Memoir The Tub
  • Samantha Rekstad, Short Story When You Stare Out The Window, The Window Stares Back
  • Rosella Stewart, Personal Essay & Memoir Funerals and Other Family Functions
  • Rosella Stewart, Personal Essay & Memoir A Theory of Belonging

Bryn Croyle Johnson, Poetry Old Blood *Gold Key and American Voices Nominee

Artist statement: “This collection of three poems was written in the fall of 2020, not long after I began to reconnect with my own heritage as a native person. They each were written for a different reason, and are expressions of different feelings on the same subject: being native. Old Blood, the titular piece, was written in support of the Land Back movement, which supports Indigenous land rights. Grandmother and Blood and Water are both more personal pieces about my own relationship to my people and my family.”

Old Blood

First the vikings called us Skraelings
Then columbus called us Indians
A thousand years of tragedy
When settlers began to settle
Our blood poured from their rafters
The history of their colonies etched in bone

Now they call themselves old blood
As if the beams they bore
Were roots, were fingers
They act like they started a forest
For cutting down the trees
And planting oak planks in earth

I warn you, old blood, get off our land
Because I swear to you our blood is older
Our hearts are heavy with the lumber
Of the forest you destroyed
We are cold as the bodies you dropped
In unmarked pits, unfit to be called a grave

When we are thinking of the future
We can’t imagine a world where we exist
Because when your blood is quantum
Your people a number in the ledger of a white man
You treat children like divisions
Like dilutions of yourself

Colonies have history here
A thousand years of tragedy
And when the “old blood”
Put their beams in the earth
They ignored our trees uprooted
And our blood pouring from their rafters


Aanaaluk, where are you

My father mourns his brother
Slack spined and sobbing
I’ve learned that mourning well

His tears are unfamiliar
The comforting is not
You still have us

Aanaaluk, I miss you, nakuagikpakpin

He taught me algebra in kindergarten
And rage, still in the cradle
Smooth talking bastard ruined me

I’d be well if karma hit
You’re all well bathed in tragedy
Better luck next time

Aanaaluk what did you give me

My heart bleeds for you
As it bleeds for me
Self pity a drug I can’t stop taking

I don’t know my family
My mother tells me little
My father tells me less

Aanaaluk, tell me more

I have my father’s anger
And my mother’s back aches
Blood begets blood

My blood is ancient
And in this age I grow tired

Blood and Water

I dream of Iŋaliq Alaska
Dark and cold and bittersweet
Where my family is
The branch I never meet

I want to climb the family tree
Meet the village of my blood
But by blood does not a family be
So I resign to having lost one

The blood of colonizers flows as well
As blood from the colonized
Who am I? Do my bones decide?
My body constantly disguised

Inupiaq blood, naluaġmiu skin
Blood quantum seizes me
And tells me I know within
One fourth is not enough

I dream of Iŋaliq Alaska
Where sunny skies and moonlit days
Will take me in their arms
And take this pain away

Savanna Ferrera, Flash Fiction A thousand eyes *Gold Key winner

Artist statement: “Since we’re all home so much and alone so often because of the virus, I think it’s important to remember that we still have the Earth to talk to. For the girl in the piece, it’s about finding acceptance in herself that she can be okay without a significant other who’s left her, but for me, it’s about discovering individuality through a sense of love for self and planet.”

A thousand eyes

I succumb to the will of the planet, the water, the ground, and everything else that exists outside of my eyesight. The earth doesn’t need another thing but herself. She breathes and lives for the sole purpose of her own life. Only when people interfere, she suffers. I wonder if I could be like the earth, self-sufficient amongst the chaos of humanity. Strong enough to transform my heart into a bed of soil, a home that welcomes growth. My thoughts like a field of wildflowers, freely, vibrantly colored, and constantly expanding. My limbs could make for vines, always reaching for a new destination. I allow the cool water to soothe me. Let it heal me. Under the quiet thrum of the world, I know that I will be okay. Alone. I am simply a product of Earth’s capacity to bear life. Like Earth, I belong to no one but myself and the ground beneath my feet to which one day I will return.