Middle school students from around Osceola County excitedly gathered with their parents and teachers at the Hart Memorial Library on Wednesday, May 20 to learn the results of the Middle School Writing Contest. Forty-five students from five different middle schools in Osceola County submitted stories 500 -1,000 words in length choosing from the following topics: Treasures, An Amazing Pet Tale, A Scary Place, and The Worst/Best Day of My Life. Participating schools were Celebration K-8, Denn John Middle School, Kissimmee Middle School, Saint Cloud Middle School, and Osceola County School for the Arts. The contest was sponsored by the Osceola Chapter of the Florida Writers Association, One Word at a Time Writers.
Three judges from One Word at a Time read each story evaluating the stories on plot, setting, character, punctuation, grammar, originality, and appearance. They selected first, second, and third place winners from each school and four overall best stories.
One Word at a Time appreciates this opportunity to once again partner with the Osceola Library System, Friends of the Library Foundation, and Osceola County Schools to make this competition possible. It is our way of promoting literacy in the community. Friends of the Library Foundation donated a thesaurus, pens, and inspirational books to the finalists. This year we were also thankful that the Florida Writers Foundation was able to provide five $15 checks to award to the first place winners. Other prizes included inspirational books provided by One Word at a Time members. Thank you to the Hart Memorial Library for providing the auditorium for the awards ceremony.
As president of One Word at a Time, I would like to personally thank the teachers at each of the schools – Lisa Iriarte - Celebration K-8, Nilda Correa - Kissimmee Middle School, Barbara Robinson -Denn John Middle School, Shelly Justice - Osceola County School for the Arts, Holly McCoy -Saint Cloud Middle School. They helped coordinate the competitions within the schools, and distributed the stories to me. The competition would not have been possible without the volunteer efforts of the judges Patricia Semler, Tina Sallee, and Robert Cherney who dedicated many hours reading, scoring, and writing comments on all the submitted stories. Thanks to Larraine Stacey who designed the flyer and helped in the planning of the competition. A special thanks to Pat Semler, Mike Fenton, Marni Dandliker, and Mr. Dandliker for setting up the room for the celebration event, handing out the awards, and staying to clean up after. Photographs were provided by Mike Fenton.
FIRST PRIZE – “The House Across the Street” by Eric Qu, Celebration K-8; “The Treasures of My Heart” by Isabel Ascobar, Denn John Middle; “Does He Love Me Too?” by Salma Belakbir, Kissimmee Middle; “What” by Cheina Ramos, Osceola County School for the Arts; “The House” by Claire Polachek, Saint Cloud Middle.
SECOND PRIZE –Tie “Best Day Ever” by Alexandra Lousey, Celebration K-8; “My Year as a Celebration All Star” by Mike La Gaipa, Celebration K-8; “DeShawn’s Strange Treasure” by Jovenal Pierre, Denn John Middle; Tie “The Treasure of my Dreams” by Jean Carlos Batista, Kissimmee Middle School; “The Worst Day Of My Life” by Tiffany Rodriguez, Kissimmee Middle School; “A Miracle In the Middle of No Where” by Amylee Rivera, Osceola County School for the Arts; “Training Pays Off” by Stephanie Baur, Saint Cloud Middle.
THIRD PRIZE – “The Worst Day Of My Life” by Saarah Samad, Celebration K-8; “The Best Day Of My Life” by Kyndall Camacho, Denn John Middle; “The Fairy Tale Treasure” by Bakhadir Rozakberdiev, Kissimmee Middle School; “The Circus” by Emanuela Pava, Osceola County School for the Arts;; “Spot the Fire Dog” by Hanna Pugh, Saint Cloud Middle.
BEST OVERALL – Scored on total points with a perfect score 63. Winners will have stories included in an anthology by One Word at a Time.
1st “The House” by Claire Polochek, Saint Cloud Middle – 58 points
2nd “The House Across the Street” by Eric Qu, Celebration K-8 – 56 points
3rd “Training Pays Off” by Stephanie Baur, Saint Cloud Middle – 55 points
4th “Does He Love Me Too?” by Salma Belakbir, Kissimmee Middle – 54 points