CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hundreds of student authors were honored Friday as part of the 30th Annual Young Writers Celebration, a statewide competition that recognizes and encourages writing excellence in all grades.
"Writing is one of the most important skills for academic and professional success," said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. "As we prepare students for the 21st century, clear communication through writing is more important than ever."
The annual event is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and Central West Virginia Writing Project, based at Marshall University's South Charleston campus. As a site of the National Writing Project, Central West Virginia Writing Project builds the leadership, programs and research needed for teachers to help their students become successful writers and learners.
First place state winners in each grade level read from their winning entries. The winners are:
The contest is funded through an allocation in the state budget to West Virginia's National Writing Project sites and supported by the WVDE, Marshall University Graduate College of Education and Professional Development, and the University of Charleston. The contest encourages classroom writing and honors first through 12th grade writers in every West Virginia county.
County winners, their teachers and families were invited to attend the celebration, which included talks by state Superintendent Phares and University of Charleston President Ed Welch. Workshops were offered by West Virginia authors Marc Harshman, Sarah Sullivan, Cheryl Ware and Elizabeth Campbell. Ron Sowell, songwriter and music director of West Virginia Public Radio's Mountain Stage, also performed and led a songwriting workshop.
County winners, their teachers and families are invited to attend Young Writers Day from all over the state. More than 600 students, teachers and family members attend the annual event.
For more information, contact Paul Epstein, director of the Central West Virginia Writing Project and West Virginia Young Writers Contest, at 304-746-1947, or the WVDE Office of Communication at 304-558-2699. Also visit www.marshall.edu/cwvwp or www.nwp.org.