Posted On: Friday, May 27, 2011

The combined seventh- and eighth-grade Harding teams won the first place Sweepstakes Trophy at the Power of the Pen State Finals at the College of Wooster May 26-27 for their combined performance in the regional and state tournaments of the creat ive writing competition. Harding - which beat out 280 middle schools -proved to be the best of the best as only the top 10% of the original 7,000 writers who entered the tournament move on to the state tournament.

The competition is comprised of three preliminary rounds, where writers are given prompts and 40 minutes to create a story based on that prompt. After three rounds of writing on Friday morning, four students advanced to the finals: seventh-graders Tess Moran and Jimmy Toner and eighth-graders Kathryn Urban and Maggie Pizzo.

Although the two teams did not have any individuals place, the overall first place trophy is a testament to the strong team effort of all the members throughout the competition's district, regional and state tournaments. Coaching the teams to victory this year were advisers Ruth Pangrace and Pam Sheils.

"When the announcement came that Harding was the first place school, with the best record in the state, the students and I were jubilant," said Pangrace. "The entire team of 12 danced and leapt to the expansive stage of McGaw Chapel amid cheers and a standing ovation. It was a memorable moment and a marvelous lesson, that the team won because of the efforts and talents of the whole team, not a few superstars."

View a video of Pangrace and students discussing the tournament on the Lakewood Patch here.

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