District News


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Middle College Students Win in Peay Reads

October 28, 2014

Please note: This article was originally published on 10/28/2014. Information and/or dates from past events may be not be relevant for the current school year.

Each year, Austin Peay State University selects a novel for incoming freshman.  This year, Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference became the text of choice. Written by Warren St. John, the novel develops one woman’s quest to make a difference in the lives of refugees. As part of the reading, students participate in a Creative Response for the Freshman Legacy Project in which they develop a personal connection to the novel based on theme. Out of over 1,400 entries, three students from The Middle College at APSU captured the judge’s attention.

Ashley Draper was selected as an honorable mention for her art piece depicting a united front of soccer players despite the differences in their background, age, religion, and language. Aimee Stacy created a freestanding silhouette of a young boy playing soccer, creatively replacing the soccer ball with a globe to encompass the idea of the sport that brought the boys together as a team.


Both of these young women were honored at a reception Oct. 6 at the Felix G. Woodward library. Their work continues to be on display in the library at this time.


However, honorable mention could not contain the students at The Middle College. Matthew Pinnock submitted a poem entitled “What Do You See?” and the judges saw a winner. He was selected as one of the top wining entries for the Freshman Legacy Project for the 2014-2015 school year. His poem sought to develop “the perspective of a refugee talking to a Clarkston resident” (Pinnock). Pinnock indicated his inspiration for creating the poem came from a specific line in the novel. Amidst the constant changing culture of Clarkston, GA, of which long-time residents struggled to process, a quote from Pastor Phil Kitchin captured Pinnock’s attention: “Jesus said heaven is a place for people of all nations. So if you don’t like Clarkston, you won’t like heaven” (St. John 177). For Matthew, this embodied the beauty of all human beings, despite differences in race or nationality.


As a winner, Matthew Pinnock and his instructor, Cresta McGowan, were invited to attend a private dinner celebration that featured Luma Mufleh, the soccer coach who brought the story to life. The event preceded the keynote address by Luma Mufleh in which all winners were honored.



When notified he was a winner, Matthew Pinnock found himself speechless. His English IV instructor, Cresta McGowan, beamed with pride, “Upon reading he was selected, tears came to my eyes. I am so excited for him.”


Next year, Mrs. McGowan plans to continue The Middle College’s participation in The Peay Read, “Our students are a part of the population at Austin Peay. They actively contribute to campus events, and this is just another opportunity for us to build their college transition.”