Harding Power of the Pen team members with their 1st place, 2nd place and Sweepstakes trophies (sitting from left): Tess Moran, Amanda Cabot, Maggie Pizzo, Jonny Latsko, (standing from left) Veronica Gordon, Zak Inat, Jimmy Toner, Kathryn Urban, Renee Klann, Sarah Smith, Erin Turner and Laert Fejzullari.
The legacy of excellence for Lakewood City Schools in the Power of the Pen competition continues as the Harding Middle School combined team won the Sweepstakes Trophy signifying the best all-around team from both the district and regional tournaments for the second straight year and writers from both Harding and Garfield Middle School took home individual honors at the regional tournament held April 9 at St. Joseph Academy.
Harding’s 7th grade team took first place and the 8th grade team placed second in one of the creative writing competition’s 12 regionals held around the state.
“These kids really have a gift for writing,” said Harding coach Ruth Pangrace. “They see the beauty and importance of writing as creative expression … and they’ve made writing a priority, which is rare.” The team members from both schools have been meeting up to two times a week before school since September to work on their writing.
During the competition writers compose three narratives in response to three prompts, with 40 minutes allotted per prompt. An example of prompts at the regional tournament were “Please don’t take away ________” and “Describe a snapshot of dinner time at your house.”
Leading the way individually for the Harding teams were 7th graders Jimmy Toner (7th place), Amanda Cabot (8th place) and Jonny Latsko (11th place) and 8th graders Kathryn Urban, who was 3rd overall and named Best Individual Writer, and Renee Klann, who won a Best of Round for one of her stories and a Best of Best award – the highest award given - for a story she wrote at the district competition in February. For the Garfield teams, 8th grader Carleigh Spence placed highest at 7th and 8th grader Sara Shyte, won a Best of the Best award.
The final leg of the competition is the state tournament, held May 26-27 at the College of Wooster, where more than 700 students will compete to be named the best creative writer in the state. Only writers in the top 10% of the competition move on to state and Harding will send its entire 7th grade team and all but one member of its 8th grade team. Garfield will send 7th grader Allie Donegan and 8th graders Shyte and Spence to the state tournament.
The Power of the Pen competition is now in its 26th year with more than 8,000 students competing statewide. The program was created to provide educational enhancement for young writers across Ohio as well as offer an interscholastic writing competition to reward the art of written expression.
7th Grade: Allie Donegan
8th Grade: Sara Shyte
Coach: Barb Lynch
7th Grade: Amanda Cabot
8th Grade: Renee Klann
Coaches: Ruth Pangrace