MOUNT VERNON — More than 120 budding young authors from 20 different middle schools converged on Mount Vernon Middle School on Saturday for the regional Power of the Pen tournament. Three rounds of competition determined the best penmen. The top 20 percent will move on to the state match in April.
In each round, the competing scribes had 40 minutes to compose a story or narrative about a given writing prompt. The prompts might ask them to use a certain word or idea as the story theme, fill in a blank and write a story about it, or compose a tale in the first person.
The judges evaluated each opus according to criteria such as creativity, style, descriptive language, sentence structure and mechanics/spelling. Legibility was also a factor.
After the award ceremony, the students were given a copy of their essay or story, along with the judges’ ballot or score sheet with positive comments as well as suggestions for improvement.
Local schools participating in the contest included Clear Fork Middle School, Mount Vernon Middle School and St. Vincent de Paul School.
Clear Fork Middle School seventh-graders came in second in their team division; Maeve Crotty was the No. 1 individual winner in the seventh-grade division, out-writing 58 other contestants. Clear Fork seventh-graders Maria Marsarotto and Audra Delaney came in 10th and 12th, respectively, and Jamie Hamilton won a Best of Round 3 award for her tale about people and colors.
The Colts’ seventh-grade writing coach is Beverly Knell.
Clear Fork writers, both seventh- and eighth-grade teams, earned second place in the regional Sweepstakes, which is based on the points from district and regional competition. They were coached by Knell and Carol Pretorius, eight-grade team.
Weston Uram, Mount Vernon eighth-grader, was fifth in a field of 63 scribners. Katie Beach is the MVMS Power of the Pen coach, and coordinated the regional match.
Other grade seven school results were: First place, Copley-Fairlawn Middle School, Summit County; third place, Lexington Junior High, Richland County; and fourth place, St. Peter’s Junior High School-Mansfield, Richland County.
Grade eight school results were: First place, Copley-Fairlawn Middle School, Summit County; Granville Middle School, Granville; Licking Valley Middle School, Newark; and Hillsdale Middle School, Jeromesville.