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Once Upon a Saturday

Posted on by West Side Montessori

by Mary Brandon, Middle School Language Arts Teacher

“Since reading the Book Thief, I look at the sky differently,” I say, admiring a pink sun as it rises glistening off the white snow and painting the trees with black strokes against a lavender sky. The girls, impressed by the sunrise, attempt to capture its beauty on film; however, we agree that only a painter can truly capture its ethereal quality.

“It looks like something out of a fairy tale,” Parker says in hushed tones. And so begins our fairy tale on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Power of the Pen.

Around 150 students milled around Tiffin Middle School anxious to begin their first round of writing. They’ve been practicing for this creative writing competition for months, and they are ready. Students armed with only pens, prepare for battle — a battle of words — played out in ink upon a blank page. Room assignments are handed out, directions given, good wishes passed around, and with a final look at their teammates they are off!

A classroom, a board, and soon a prompt. The 7th grade students are given their first writing prompt: Discarded, you are an item at a yard sale remembering those days when you were loved by your owner. The 8th graders are given a different prompt. Their writing prompt for Round 1 was: Once upon a __________(use any word to fill in the blank except TIME).

All students hear the same directions and the same last words, “You have 40 minutes; you may begin writing.”

After three rounds of writing, smiling students rejoin their teammates for lunch and finally, after what seems like an eternity, the awards. After the welcome is complete the awards begin – “We had a hard time choosing the best of round winner for 7th level – our honorable mention goes to Benjamin Theis from West Side Montessori! The fairy tale day continues…

The top 15 students in each grade level are recognized on stage: three 7th level and four 8th level students are called up from West Side!

7th Level Individual Awards

  • 1st place Sean Fernandez
  • 5th place Benjamin Theis
  • 9th place Rachel Gorman

8th Level Individual Awards

  • 8th place Libby Stupica
  • 12th place Wyatt Reynolds
  • 13th place Parker Caesar
  • 14th place Claire Kohler

The fairy tale Saturday continues. Each writing room has a number one winner; writing professionals from the area are asked to pick the best of the number one stories for each round. WSM 8th graders had two out of three Best of Round Winners.

8th Level Best of Round

  • Best of Round 2 Libby Stupica
  • Best of Round 3 CJ Leonard

By now you must be thinking WOW! West Side Montessori Middle School students had the best Saturday ever. But wait — there’s more! Congratulations to our awesome writing team!

Team Award Winners

  • WSM 7th grade team placed second in the competition with their collective scores. The team includes: Hanna Ahmad, Sean Fernandez, Rachel Gorman, Zaynab Lazreq, Kathryn Rex, and Benjamin Theis.
  • WSM 8th grade team placed first in the competition. The team includes: Parker Caesar, Claire Kohler, CJ Leonard, Wyatt Reynolds, Libby Stupica, and Maddy Vesoulis.

I climb into the car exhausted but proud. Looking out the window at a slate gray sky, I smile as snowflakes begin to coat the landscape. A winter wonderland complete with deer color our ride home, “Hey Mom! Look!” and I do, and I smile. What fairy tale is complete without a happy ending?

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