7 participate in state-wide writing contest

Top row, from left, Regaan Fortwendel, Abby Kidwell, Rachel Hollinden and Karleigh LeMond, and bottom row, fromleft, Taryn Schmitt, Gabriela Schmitt and Brailyn Whaley.

JASPER — A group of seven Jasper Middle School eighth-grade students were chosen as winners in a state-wide writing contest, Letters about Literature. The contest is sponsored by the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation.

Students were challenged to write a letter to an author of a book that somehow changed the way they see the world.  Reagan Fortwendel’s letter to Ruta Sepetys, the author of “Salt to the Sea,” was selected as the second-place winner overall. Earning the third-place prize was Abby Kidwell, who wrote to Angie Thomas about “The Hate U Give.”  Selected as honorable mention winners were Rachel Hollinden, Karleigh LeMond, Taryn Schmitt, Gabriela Schmitt and Brailyn Whaley.

All of the winners were invited to an awards ceremony and writing workshop at the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, on April 13. Placed winners were awarded money, while all attendees were given certificates and swag bags of books by notable Indiana writers. Kidwell, LeMond and Fortwendel were able to attend the all-day event where they participated in writing workshops with Indianapolis-born authors A’Lelia Bundles and Celeste Williams.

Additionally, during the awards ceremony, JMS eighth-grade English/language arts teacher Susan Ahlbrand was honored as teacher of the year for the contest. To determine that honor, teachers received points for each letter they submitted, points for each letter that placed in the competition and points for each year they have participated in the competition. Mrs. Ahlbrand received a $500 check to use in her school to help promote literacy.


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