Northwest Local School District congratulates the students who participated in the Power of the Pen (POTP) competition. This year, Layla Klotz, from White Oak Middle, placed First overall out of 125 writers for 7th grade, and White Oak’s 8th grade team placed Fourth overall out of 21 teams.
POTP is an interscholastic creative writing tournament for students in 7th and 8th grade that challenges students to write on demand. This year, both White Oak Middle School (WOMS) and Colerain Middle School (CMS) entered teams into Southwest Region POTP, which held 8 regional competitions across the State of Ohio.
“While POTP is a tournament, the end goal is not all about winning, it’s about the skills that students gain from participating. Our staff works with our students throughout the year to develop their quick and critical thinking, writing to prompt skills, grammar and punctuation, and writing organization,” said Lauren Byrd, CMS Teacher, and POTP Sponsor.
Participants in the competition were given a writing topic and were presented with the task of completing writing essays and short stories within 40-minutes. Students can work on teams or can enter into the competition as an individual. At the end of the 40-minute competition, the team’s work is then judged according to their writing skills and the quality of their work.
“POTP really challenges our students to write using real-world context and clear language to explain their complex ideas,” said Melissa Griley, WOMS Teacher, and POTP Sponsor. I see each student’s growth, as the year progresses, as they learn to develop their thoughts and formulate each of their written responses,” said Griley. “We are also proud when our students achieve these great accomplishments, but we know that the real work takes place year-round.”
POPT is an after-school program that meets twice a month. At each meeting, students practice writing on-demand about various topics. Like in the tournament, each practice session is timed.
“We’re striving daily to encourage students to excel in areas of reading and writing, in and out of the classroom, which is why participation in programs like POTP is so highly encouraged. Writing on-demand is a skill that students need to prepare them for high school, the ACT/SAT and also for college. I’m proud to know that we’re starting that work now,” said Kevin Gale, WOMS Principal.