W.Va. Department of Education Honors Budding Writers

June 12, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ The state Department of Education wants to make sure the next Homer Hickam attending public school in West Virginia is honored for his developing writing skills.  

About 330 budding authors, including 18 state winners, were recently recognized in the statewide Young Writers Contest. This annual competition recognizes and encourages writing excellence by West Virginia’s best and brightest students –- from kindergartners to high school seniors.  

“Writing is one of the most important skills for academic and professional success, said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “As we prepare students for the 21st century, clear communication through writing is even more important for future success.”  

First place state winners by grade level include: Carli Harlan, Belington Elementary, Barbour County, first-second; MaKenzie Hill, East Dale Elementary, Marion County, third-fourth; Sydney Pettit, Sand Fork Elementary, Gilmer County, fifth-sixth; Allyson Hayes, Harpers Ferry Middle, Jefferson County, seventh-eighth; Julia Barry, Hampshire High, Hampshire County, ninth-10th; Jordan McPherson, Parkersburg South High, Wood County, 11th-12th.  

Children’s author Anna Egan Smucker of Bridgeport advised the young writers at an awards ceremony to write often and “read everything they can get their hands on.” Smucker is the author of No Star Nights about growing up in the steel mill town of Weirton.  

The Young Writers Contest is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Writing Project, which is part of the effort to improve writing in America. Through its professional development model, the Writing Project builds the leadership, programs and research needed for teachers to help their students become successful writers and learners.  

Other sponsors include the University of Charleston, The Charleston Daily Mail and Marshall University’s Graduate College.  

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