The Vortex writing and awards competition celebrate 20th year


Holly Clifford

2019 Vortex awards

Holly Clifford, Reporter

The Vortex writing competition and recognition banquet celebrated its 20th at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale resort on May 2.

At the conclusion of each spring semester, Scottsdale Community College holds an awards ceremony for the selected writers and artists who submitted their work.

In addition to the ceremony, there’s a book called the Vortex that publishes the selected students’ art and writing.

The night of the banquet featured a jazz band and a gourmet buffet was provided.

Cake was served for dessert, the chocolate cake had pudding in the middle and this reporter loves it when there’s pudding in the cake.

The amount of creative writing classes offered at SCC has increased over the past years.

Twenty years ago, there was only one class offered, now there’s seventeen.

“We have all of these opportunities for people to explore what they want to write,” said Senior Creative Writing Adviser, Sandra Desjardins.

Northeast Valley News had the chance to talk to some of the winners, along with the people who received an honorable mention.

Joy Gregory came in third place in poetry.
We asked her what her favorite part about writing was.

“The ability to say anything you want without your face being plastered in front of it. You just get to say it, and it’s just your name and no one has to be pointing at you saying ‘oh there she is, there’s the person that did that’. You just get to say whatever you want,” Gregory said.

Kate Price won an honorable mention for short story essays.
She’s been writing for a couple of years but would only share her work with her sister. We wanted to know why she has never shared her writing in the past.

Price needed to overcome her shyness but explained that now that she has shared her work, she has overcome her shyness and is very proud of her herself.

“Do what makes you get excited about your work. Find ideas that make you wanna sit down at your computer and explore them,” Price said.

Bree Hoffman took honorable mention in the personal essay category and first place in poetry. She’s a creative writing major at Scottsdale Community College.

She started writing as a kid but took a break for a bit. She explained that she got back into writing when she took a creative writing class at Scottsdale.

“The hard part is trying to figure out what you want to write about and usually it’s only worth writing about if it’s really hard to write about,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman hopes that one day she’ll be a published author of a book of poems, a memoir, or a fantasy book.

Marcus Campbell came in second place in the poetry category. It was his first year entering into the Vortex.

We asked him what advice he had for writers.

“You don’t have to be 100% writer, you just have to show up,” Campbell said.

For example, to get nominated in the Vortex contest one would have to take the time to sit down and workshop their writing to submit it.

“Being consistent over time will eventually get you whatever you want. You don’t have to be perfect every time, you just have to show up all the time,” Campbell said.

The winners were from age 18 to 84.

“The longer you live, the more experiences you have and all of that makes you a better writer and a better artist,” Desjardins said.