Posted On: Sunday, March 16, 2014

Harding's Power of the Pen teams with their winners' trophies. Back row (l-r): Casey Chanter, Claire Walkosak, Sophia Parker, Veronica Lee, Emily Perry, Micah Inak and 8th grade coach Ruth Pangrace. Front row (l-r): Samantha Stone, Nina Zanghi, Ella Calleri, Lalia Williams-Riseng, Chelsea Inak (alternate). Missing: Nate Bilski and Saige Rook.

Harding Middle School swept the Power of the Pen regional competition at St. Joseph Academy on March 15 with both 7th and 8th grade teams taking first place out of the 66 schools competing. Only the top 50% of writers from the district competitions are invited to attend the regionals. All 12 of Harding's 7th and 8th grade writers qualified.

Because of weather-related regional cancellations throughout Ohio, this year's St. Joe's event hosted 66 schools instead of the usual 25, nearly 500 writers, more than double the average amount for a regional competition.

Leading the way for individual writers was 7th-grader Lalia Williams-Riseng, who ranked 13th among all of the individual writers for her performance in all three rounds, and 8th-grader Sophia Parker, who won a trophy for her 6th place showing. Parker also won an honorable mention for her story in the second round, "Write about a color associated with a vivid memory." Eighth-grader Claire Walkosak  won a Best of Round for her story about " Them" and 7th-grader Ella Calleri and 8th-grader Veronica Lee moved closer to having stories published by winning "Best of the Best" plaques for stories they wrote during district competition.

The regional competition ends with the Sweepstakes Trophy for overall performance during the districts and regionals, and Harding took home that trophy as well, for the third time in five years.

Garfield Middle School also sent seven writers to regional competition. Eighth-grader Izzy Ostrowski, who took 1st place at the district tournament, was honored with an author's choice award, the Baker Award.

Next up is the state competition in May at the College of Wooster. The top 10% of the original 7,000 writers in the state qualify for the Wooster competition. Those names will not be determined until later this month.

Congratulations to all the talented and dedicated writers and to their coaches, Harding's Pam Sheils (7th grade) and Ruth Pangrace (7th grade) and Garfield's Haley McDonough and Maggie Bacher.

Garfield Regional Participants:

7th Grade: Era Bakia, Nicholas Cleary, Corrina Cooper
8th Grade: Sarah Bene, Izzy Ostrowski, Lizzie Shuga, Mira Vainis

Harding Regional Participants:

7th Grade: Nate Bilski, Ella Calleri, Emily Perry, Lalia Williams-Riseng, Samantha Stone and Nina Zanghi
8th Grade: Casey Chanter, Micah Inak, Veronica Lee, Sophia Parker, Saige Rook and Claire Walkosak 

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