Power of the Pen
by Elizabeth Horner
Greenville Junior High hosted this year’s “District Power of the Pen
Competition”. Thanks to the Greenville City School’s Board,
Superintendent Susie Riegal and Principal David Peltz for their support
and for allowing this event to take place in Greenville this year. Many
thanks to: Mrs. Elaine Bailey for her tireless effort to support this
program and coordinating this event; the Best of Round judges Kathleen
Nealeigh, Bob Robinson and Michael Sexton; volunteers Tricia Seubert,
Kelsi Meyer, Greenville Key Club, Debate Club and Quiz Bowl Team; Polly
Ruedebusch, Sue Coppess, Lori Moore, Kelly Tanner, and all the writing
team coaches and students that participated in the tournament. A
special thanks to my mom, Ruby, who served as the parent coordinator
for the Greenville Team.
Sixteen schools and 74 seventh and 82 eighth grade students
participated. Greenville Junior High was represented by five 8th
grade students: Christal Smith who took the overall third place trophy,
Leslie Logan and Sammy Lobenstein who received ribbons as “Qualifiers”
and will advance to the POP Regional Competition with Christal Smith.
Jennie Hoehn and Trey Morton received scores with “Honors”.
Other students from Darke County that placed are: Caroline
Praker, no.11 (Versailles); and Kelly Snyder, no. 12 (De Colores);
Morgan Turpen, no. 13 (Versailles). In the 7th grade division,
Franklin Monroe Sophie Fig placed no. 16. Other Darke County
school qualifiers for the regional competitions are: Seventh
grade: Brenden Rismiller, Madison Collins, and Hannah Green
(Franklin Monroe); Chance Garber and Ashley Littlepage (Missisinawa
Valley); Quincy Baltes, Samantha Ruuner, and Maddy Rickett
(Versailles). Eighth grade: Hannah Cloyd, Rachel Remencus
and Samantha Runner (De Colores); Quincy Warren (Missisinawa
Valley); Lindsey Didler and Morgan Turpen (Versailles). They all
deserve big congratulations! Let us wish them good luck as they
move to the regional level of competition on March 26!
believe very strongly that we need to cultivate communication and
writing proficiency in all of today’s youth as a vehicle to reach out
across space … and time. Most of us have read the works of
Shakespeare. The voices of great historians, philosophers, poets,
and novelists like Shakespeare --- have outlived the mediums upon which
they were writ. As the ambassadors of their time periods, we have their
words to shape our views of the past and give us those crucial insights
into their beliefs and culture. That is an awesome power--- to be
able to affect future generations’ way of thinking or looking at
things. Their work may amuse, enlighten, or frighten us--- but
their words are potent. I thank this community for allowing us,
your sons and daughters to have this opportunity.
also believe that everybody’s born with the ability to communicate
one’s views about the world through simple speech, humor, poetic
rhetoric, etc. Sometimes it takes a little push to get a person to
channel those skills onto paper. I know of a lot of amazing
English teachers who are good at prompting their students into finding
their own voices through writing. I have many of them to
thank. There are also various training methods out there to help
one enhance his/her writing skills. While coaching the Greenville
Junior High’s Power of the Pen team, I tested a few ideas with the team.
of my favorite exercises was like charades. Two kids were asked to act
out the same part --- to be a cat, George Washington, a snake….
Then the rest of the team voted on who performed his/her best by
describing why they say so. Now, you may ask, how does this help
teach writing skills? I wanted them to see the methods used to
communicate non-verbally with the audience, and then apply that to
their written work. Did they slink, strut, walk with feline grace,
etc? If good writing makes the reader form a picture in their
head, then why not start with the picture and work backwards?
also wanted their thoughts and hearts to spill onto the paper and into
the world around them. Words are basic requisites of life,
everything from giving a direction to the movie theater; recipes for
tonight’s dinner; statements that feed our soul; or providing one with
an outlet to express ones beliefs, experiences, and ideas. Written
words can be very powerful tool indeed, as Ms. Susie Riegel said in her
opening remarks during the event. I hope we, the youth, will
learn to use this power to serve our community and the greater good!