Benvenuto and Samet High School Winners Announced

November 3, 2021

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Richard Benvenuto High School Poetry and Tom Samet High School Fiction Competitions!

High school students from around Michigan submitted 150 poems and 50 short stories with hopes of winning one of the four prizes awarded annually.

Winners will receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third place, and $25 for honorable mention.

This year marks the 13th year that the Benvenuto Prize has been awarded and the fifth year for the Samet Prize. Both competitions are funded by friend of the Center Barry Gross as a way to memorialize his friends for whom the competitions are named and to encourage the teaching of poetry and fiction writing in high schools.

Entries are read and scored by our staff of student interns, assistant director, and director. 


We hope you'll join us for a virtual presentation of the winning entries on Wednesday, November 17 at 7 p.m. ET. Registration is required to attend; please click here to register.  In the days following the presentation, the winning entries will also be posted on our website.


The winners of the 2021 Richard Benvenuto High School Poetry Competition are:

First Place: Neva Ensminger-Holland, Interlochen Arts Academy, for "Please Remind My Mother It's Not My Fault" 

Second Place: Samantha Haviland, Interlochen Arts Academy, for "The End of Winter Semester"

Third Place: Ray Zhang, Troy High School, for "Within a Sea of Yellow"

Honorable Mention: Holly Haeck, Interlochen Arts Academy, for "Elegy"

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Keller, Interlochen Arts Academy, for "the universe sits on 132nd street"

Honorable Mention: De'Angelo Saldana, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, for "Just Glitching a Bit"


The winners of the 2021 Tom Samet High School Fiction Competition are:

First Place: Hannah Haines, Kenowa Hills High School, for "Meadow"

Second Place: Blaise Williams, Detroit Catholic Central, for "Supper for One"

Third Place: MacKenzie Brasseur, Lapeer High School, for "The Deal"

Honorable Mention: Alexandre Morrison, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, for "My Whippoorwill"


For more information about the Benvenuto and Samet High School competitions and to view a video of last years' winners, please click here.