A-B Tech's Journal of Best Student Essays

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About The Hellbender

This publication, called The Hellbender*, is designed to complement A-B Tech’s Art and Literary journal The Rhapsodist by showcasing our college’s finest academic writing across the curriculum. We seek samples of student work, recommended by supervising faculty, in all disciplines.


Our aim in creating A-B Technical Community College’s online publication, The Hellbender, is to showcase the finest student academic writing across the curriculum. In addition to submissions from the arts and humanities classes, we hope to encourage those working in the STEM disciplines. The blog format will allow for rolling submissions, multi-media formats, easy searches by date, updates via social media links, a regular electronic newsletter free to subscribers, and a platform for guest bloggers. While supervised by faculty, the publication is largely student driven, both in site upkeep and in the editorial process. Ideally, we will be able to offer an annual scholarship for students whose work is deemed (by fellow students) to be exemplary. There is simply too much excellent academic writing being done at our college that doesn’t get proper recognition; The Hellbender seeks to remedy this oversight and itself provide students an opportunity for hands-on experience designing and running an online publication.

Whitman Bolles
English Instructor

*The hellbender is a large salamander native to these mountains, an indicator species of clean aquatic environments, and therefore threatened.

Our Team


Whitman has been teaching college English since 1994 and has taught at A-B Tech since 2014. Contact Whitman


Ben is the Hellbender's senior student editor. He's been a student at A-B Tech since Fall, 2018, pursuing his prerequisites for transfer into UNCA's English program. Contact Ben


We're looking for student editors! 

Apply today!


The Hellbender Scholarship

The A-B Tech Hellbender Scholarship is a yearly scholarship of $250.00 and is awarded to the top two essays of the year, one for the best Humanities essay, and another for the best essay in STEM or Other categories. The scholarship is awarded each spring to the previous year's winners. Students must be actively enrolled when work is submitted, but can still win the award after graduation. Previous winners are excluded from future awards.

All work accepted to the Hellbender for publication is automatically in consideration for scholarship awards. The Hellbender editors convene at the end of the school year and vote on the best essays. Winners will be notified by email. 

Good luck!


Submission Rules

We're always looking for student essays of high caliber. Regardless of topic, subject, discipline, we exhibit works of thorough research, thoughtful inquiry, and quality writing.


  • The Hellbender is student-guided. Students can submit their own work and do not require instructor endorsement.

  • Submissions must have a 90 or better final grade.

  • Submissions must be final drafts.

  • Instructors are encouraged to submit on behalf of students if they choose. However, please provide the student's email address with your submission.

  • Grade does not guarantee publication to Hellbender. Final selection is at the discretion of the Hellbender editors, after the submitted work is carefully analyzed and compared to rigid standards of excellence.

  • There is no submission window. Submit freely throughout the year. 

  • Submissions must be no older than last semester.

  • Authors of works selected for publication will be notified by email. Not every submission will receive personal reply. 

  • Publication of accepted essays is dependent on careful deliberation periods, formatting, and the busy schedules of an all-volunteer editorial team. Response and publication can take up to six weeks. Thank you for your patience.


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A-B Tech Hellbender