Marist High School senior Maya Drayton recently took first place in the creative writing category of the Expressions Challenge sponsored by Walgreen’s. The contest is a peer-to-peer based health awareness initiative for high school teens in which students submit pieces on critical life issues.
Drayton learned about the contest last school year while attending a college fair for historically black colleges and universities. She has always enjoyed writing and picked up skills while enrolled in Marist’s creative writing course. Her poem, "Ode to the Smile Next to Me," follows the narrator who initially believes she knows a lot about the people she encounters, but soon realizes there is so much beneath the surface. There are struggles each person has that cannot be seen.
Drayton emerged from a pool of more than 3,300 submissions in Chicago and St. Louis. She received a $2,000 prize, while Marist High School will also get $500. Drayton said the money is in the bank for now as she makes her way through the college and scholarship application process. She hopes to attend University of Dayton, Bradley University, University of Indiana at Evansville, Marquette Univeristy or St. Louis University. She plans to major in physical therapy and hopes to fit in both a business and creative writing minor. She was recognized by Walgreen’s on January 10 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago.
A graduate of Prairie Junior High, Drayton is a four-year member of the track and field team, has led the Kairos retreat program, served in the grade school tutoring program, yearbook club, and student ambassador program.