Englishenglish2english3English 4
Program of Studies

Welcome to the English Department homepage, where you’ll find information about who we are, what we do, and what’s happening in our upstairs labyrinth.

Our Mission

In every course at every level, our goal is to nurture students’ critical thinking and communication skills. By helping students explore a variety of text and use language to articulate their ideas in different ways, we encourage them to develop agility and awareness as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners.

Our Program

All students are required to follow the primary sequence of four full-year core English courses, typically starting with Academic English I in the freshman year and concluding with Academic English IV in the senior year. Students who qualify for advanced study have the opportunity to engage in Pre-AP (Advanced Placement) and AP courses, as well as a dual-enrollment community college course during their senior year.

We also offer several elective courses that may be taken in addition to the core program of study. Current elective offerings include Creative Writing, Journalism, Understanding Film, and Literature of Sports.

Events and Opportunities:

** POETRY OUT LOUD - Be part of MTA’s 9th Annual Poetry Out Loud competition—a poetry recitation contest that starts at the local level and offers students the chance to advance to state and national competitions. See Ms. Vail in Room 238 or the Poetry Out Loud website for more information.

** THE JOY OF THE PEN - Topsham Public Library Writing Contest

Joy of the Pen complements the already successful Joy of Art and Joy of the Lens art and photography competitions held annually at the library. Maine is a state full of writers, whether it is the natural beauty of the terrain that is inspirational or something within the temperament of the artist that is drawn to the independent spirit of the place, there is a long tradition of authors residing here. We wanted to give local writers a platform to show off their talent and to provide a community event to bring everyone together and have been extremely grateful to receive entries from a wide range of authors throughout the state.

Submission deadline: October 6, 2018

** THE VOICE OF DEMOCRACY: Patriotic Audio Essay Competition

Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, Why My Vote Matters.

Submission deadline: October 31, 2018


Students are invited to enter Stranger Sagas, the latest fantastic creative writing contest from Young Writers. Use a selection of story starters to craft a mini-saga, a story written in just 100 words! Each story starter sentence can be interpreted as you wish, so how will you develop the story? What genre will you choose to write in? After all, every great story deserves a great ending…

Submission deadline: November 2, 2018


Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the oldest and most prestigious contest for young writers in the country. Every year over 90,000 students in grades 7-12 submit work in a variety of categories. Award winners earn national recognition and opportunities for publication, exhibition, and scholarships. This high-profile achievement has launched the careers of many renowned writers and artists, including Richard Avedon, who called winning his Scholastic Award “the defining moment of my life.”

Submission deadline: December 4, 2018


The Kenyon Review sponsors this annual poetry contest that welcomes submissions from high-school sophomores and juniors. The winner and two runners-up see their poetry published in a quarterly journal and online, and the winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop in Gambier, Ohio.

Submission deadline: November 1-30, 2018


The Poetry Center at Smith College sponsors this annual poetry contest for sophomore and junior girls. Each year a distinguished poet judges submissions and selects a winner and three finalists. In addition to the cash prize awarded to the winner ($500), the three finalists are invited to spend a day in April visiting the college and discussing poetry with guest judge, Jenny George.

Submission deadline: December 1, 2018


If you're a writer or aspiring writer who enjoys fantasy and science fiction, you should write and submit a story to the Arisia 2019 Student Writing Contest. All entries must be original works of fiction by current high school students. Short stories must be between 1000 and 3000 words long. The theme this year is PERSISTENCE. Writers may feel free to draw inspiration from this and any sci-fi or fantasy theme(s) they wish. Please, no fan fiction!

Submission deadline: December 1, 2018


Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress in partnership with Target. Thousands of students participate every year by reading a book, poem, or speech and writing a letter to the author (living or dead) explaining how the work affected them personally. Winning letters receive state and/or national recognition.

Submission deadline: January 11, 2019

Emily Vail - Department Head Jessica Belanger
Eric Bosarge Tracy Boucher Corrie Calderwood Lianna Fenimore
Allison Lundquist Elizabeth Monaco
Jason Prince
RTI - Hilary Martin

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