Two MCC Students Earn Statewide Recognition for Their Creative Writing

Two Muskegon Community College students, Nicholas Rossiter and Justin Rymal, have won statewide awards for their fiction and non-fiction writing, respectively, and will be honored on Feb. 19 during Michigan’s 36th Annual Liberal Arts Network for Development (LAND) Conference which will be held virtually.

Nicholas Rossiter

Nicholas Rossiter

Rossiter, an MCC sophomore from North Muskegon, took first place in fiction for “A Short Tale of an Eccentric Millionaire.” Rymal, an MCC freshman from Grand Haven, earned second place in creative non-fiction for his work “The Crucible.” The two stories will appear in the annual publication produced by LAND, an organization committed to community college faculty and student excellence.

Last semester, both students participated in MCC’s Creative Writing Contest, organized by the College’s English and Communications Department. Because their work placed in the top two in their categories locally, it was submitted to the LAND Michigan-wide community college writing contest.

“Having MCC students represented at the statewide competition is an honor,” said MCC English Instructor Shauna Hayes, who co-sponsored the students at the LAND Conference with MCC English Instructor Sean Colcleasure. “Finding out that those students won first and second place is extraordinary. These students represent the entire MCC community and provide motivation for others to share their creative work.”

Justin Rymal

Justin Rymal

“This is the second year in a row that our students have placed at the LAND competition.  Last year, a graphic design student won the Cover Art competition, an English student placed second in the fiction category, and another English student placed first for poetry.  It is a privilege to work one on one with these students, watching them strive for excellence is what teaching is all about. “

Rossiter, a 2019 graduate of North Muskegon High School, earned praise for fictional work from the LAND judges.

“This story was almost as wonderfully eccentric as the millionaire mentioned in the title,” they wrote. “The eccentric, but ugly and tacky, house was described so well that I could see it in my own imagination. The gargoyles guarding their rooms. The birds that were their friends, and the strange “fun house” aspect to the eccentric mansion were brought to life by the author. At the end, when the builder walks away from the house after the millionaire’s death, the twist was quite unexpected.”

The LAND judges were impressed, as well, with the submission by Rymal, a Grand Haven High School graduate.

“’The Crucible’ is a retrospective of a horrific and dangerous childhood event,” noted the judges. “The writing is powerful, very imagistic, filled with concrete language, metaphor. The narrator builds tension in a story that also reveals the complexity of family relationships.”

For more information, contact Shauna Hayes at