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 creative writing competition. Harding,- which beat out 281 other 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 state competition was comprised of three preliminary rounds, where writers are given prompts and 40 minutes to create a narrative based on that prompt. After three rounds of writing May 27, four Harding 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.
“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 Harding teacher Ruth Pangrace, who coaches the team along with Pam Sheils. “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.”
The young writers have worked all school year refining their skills for this highly competitive tournament. The teams have met two mornings a week before school since September working with coaches Pangrace and Sheils, who praised the students’ talent and commitment.
“We are just so proud of these kids,” Pangrace said. “What a memorable year. The future is limitless for these remarkable young writers.”
Besides Toner, Moran, Urban and Pizzo, Harding team members are seventh-graders Amanda Cabot, Veronica Gordon, Zak Inak and Jonny Latsko and eighth-graders Renee Klann, Sarah Smith, Erin Turner and Laert Fejzullari.