Jessica Zempel Wins First James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship

Zempel Family at Sodak ShoresJessica Zempel, a student at Wilmot High School in South Dakota, is the winner of the first annual James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to graduates of Wilmot High School who display an aptitude in creative writing by authoring a short story.

Jessica’s story, “Love, Lust, and Death,” was chosen as the winner by novelist Jon McGoran.

Set in Quedlinburg, Germany, “Love, Lust, and Death” is about a serial killer and a woman who falls in love with him and tries to reform him.

Earlier this month, Beth and I traveled to Wilmot to present Jessica with her $250 prize during Wilmot High School’s Academic Awards Program. The night before the program, we enjoyed a great dinner at Sodak Shores with Jessica, her parents, and her English teacher, Danielle DeGreef.

Jon McGoranJessica also received an autographed copy of Jon’s latest novel, the excellent DUST UP and an autographed copy of THUGLIT #16 featuring my short story “It Bothers Me,” set in Wilmot.

A special thanks to Wilmot High School principal Larry Hulscher for all of his assistance and to English teacher Danielle DeGreef for encouraging so many students to submit stories.

You can learn more about the scholarship, including the reason it goes to a student at Wilmot High School, right here.


If you’d like to make a tax-deductible (at least in the U.S.) contribution to the James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund, the South Dakota Community Foundation makes it easy.

You can contribute with a credit card online. (If you contribute online, SDCF covers all transaction fees. There’s no cost to you or the fund.)

Or you can contribute by sending a check made payable to “James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund” to:

South Dakota Community Foundation
P.O. Box 296
Pierre, SD 57501

No contribution is too small. Thank you!

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