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CCS Students Reach Power of the Pen State Championship, Showcasing Early Literacy

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May 02, 2024 — After months of hard work and dedication, six students from Columbus City Schools (CCS) have earned the prestigious opportunity to compete in the Power of the Pen State Championship. This journey not only showcases their exceptional talent in creative writing but also underscores the importance of early and continued literacy initiatives in CCS schools.

"I've always really enjoyed writing, even as a kindergartner; I would love to write," said Darcy Hazzard, an eighth-grade student at world language middle school at power of the pen Indianola Informal K-8. "When I heard about Power of the Pen, I was like, oh, here's a chance to improve my writing." 

Building students through literacy is the foundation of education, enabling students to express themselves effectively, think critically, and engage with the world around them. Early literacy programs are crucial in building these skills from a young age, setting students on a path to academic success and personal growth.

Competitions like the Power of the Pen, a state-wide writing contest for seventh and eighth grade students, focus uniquely on creative writing and short stories. Power of the Pen provides a platform for students to demonstrate their creativity and storytelling capabilities. 

This competition allows students to showcase talents that might not be highlighted in traditional academic settings or through athletic and artistic pursuits alone. These competitions not only celebrate individual achievement but also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among participants.

"Power of the Pen is important for students because we have different types of students in schools, and most of the spotlight is on students who are athletes," said Gina McGowan, seventh and eighth-grade English language arts teacher at Indianola Informal K-8. "Having that spotlight to showcase their skills as writers is great."

The following students are Power of the Pen State Qualifiers and will head to Ashland University on May 17, 2024.

  • Madeline Marsh (Indianola Informal K-8) with Best of Round distinction

  • Zakiya Obayuwana (World Language Middle School) with Best of Round distinction, Director's Choice Award 

  • Johnny Wulff (Ridgeview Middle School) with Best of Round distinction

  • Samarah Beaty (Ridgeview Middle School)

  • Darcy Hazzard (Indianola Informal K-8) 

  • Jane Wootton (Dominion Middle School)

As these six students prepare to represent Columbus City Schools at the state level, they serve as shining examples of the talent and dedication present within the District. 

"I've had students in the past who did Power of the Pen, who decided to start writing short stories afterward," said McGowan. "[The competition gives students] confidence to put themselves out there for different competitions and possibly be published in books."

The Power of the Pen State Tournament, scheduled for May 17 at Ashland University, promises to showcase creativity, skill, and passion for writing. We wish our students the best of luck as they prepare to compete and are proud to see them represent Columbus City Schools on this prestigious stage.

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic EngagementPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global EmpathyPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology