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College of Arts & Sciences
First-Year English


Hortense Skelton Award for ENGL 101

Each year, the First-Year English program solicits submissions from instructors and students for the Hortense Skelton Award. Chosen by a panel of First-Year English instructors from a pool of instructor and student nominations, these represent the best essays written in ENGL 101 each year. The award is named for Hortense Skelton, who lived in Anderson SC from the 1920s to the 1990s. The prize came to be named for her because a member of the English department graded a set of papers while visiting family in Anderson. Tensie, as she was called, picked up the set of papers, read through them, and proceeded to tell the faculty member, one by one, how he had been too hard on this student, had failed to encourage that student, had not commented on the wonderful sentence by another student, and had generally marked up the set of papers from the perspective of a nitpicky sourpuss, oblivious to the encouragement and guidance that all young people need. The faculty member provided the funds for the first few iterations of the award and decided to name it for Hortense, recognizing that students could not have a more passionate unknown advocate or a more sensible approach to teaching writing.