From Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, Loyola held its first annual Breast Cancer Awareness Poetry Contest. This contest was a collaboration of student creative writers who submitted to Windowpanes magazine and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Inspired by the student body, senior Yvann Batamack, member of Student Council and President of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, created this contest for every student at Loyola. The contest allowed students to express their emotions, views and concerns about the issue of Breast Cancer.
Batamack said, “I think it shows the power and importance of writing and creative expressions, not only for issues such as breast cancer, but also problems we see within our social and political/environmental system. I believe that writing, and by extension writers, are sometimes overlooked in terms of their cultural influence, but I think this creative writing exposition shows that each and every form of self-expression is important, whether through essays, poems or spoken words.”
Alongside him, senior Donoven McAlister, Windowpanes’s student council publications representative and English teacher Douglas Brown anonymously judged 32 entries. Students were encouraged to submit any form of creative expression, including sonnets, free verse poems, haikus, prayers, songs and drawings. Six winners were selected based on creativity and overall quality of the piece’s theme and rhetoric.
The poems brought the student body’s feelings about breast cancer to the forefront. The submissions embraced the subject with compassion and great concern, which was very moving for the judges.
McAlister said, “What impressed me most about the submissions was simply the sheer number of entries we received. We received far more entries than we were expecting—which just shows how passionate and empathetic the Loyola student body can be in such solitary and uncertain times.”
Batamack added, “I saw a lot of burgeoning writers within that [emotional]cohort and was glad to give them an opportunity/platform to express themselves.”
Now, Windowpanes has partnered with the Center for Service and Justice to formulate a Nunc, a digital social justice journal. Nunc, Latin for “now,” will express the voices of Loyola students through various types of literature.
Brown stated, “The Nunc masthead will read: a journal of our present times, for our present youth, & by our present youth. This is not a remix of our ‘Men for and With Others’ adage, but rather a chance to put into those moments when we act as such. It is a chance to remember the faces and names we encounter.”
Astonished by the creators’ ability to express themselves on such a complicated topic and be vulnerable to breast cancer’s impact, Windowpanes has agreed to publish the six winners in the 51st edition of Windowpanes at the end of the school year.
McAlister said, “Overall, I would say the contest was a great success, and I hope that next year’s student council conducts it again and turns this event into a Loyola tradition. The competition certainly accomplished our goal of raising breast cancer awareness among the community.”
HERE is a link to view the six winning submissions.