Annual event sponsored by the West Union Women’s Club –
By Patricia Beech –
When Angela McGraw gave her Language Arts classes the option to compete in a state-wide writing contest, her students at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center (OVCTC) surprised her by jumping at the idea.
“They didn’t even think about it,” she says. “As soon as I suggested it they raised their hands. I didn’t have to push it at all.”
That eagerness turned into a win for two of McGraw’s students, Teresa Bauer and Nathaniel Hoffman.
Bauer, a Junior in the CTC’s Carpentry program, took first place for her metaphorical poem, “Trees”. She says the contest gave her “the opportunity to get my writing our there.”
Hoffman was awarded second place for his free verse poem, “Darkness”, which he says is about keeping the right perspective while going through dark times.
“I wrote a poem about something that was upsetting to me – to get my mind off of it – and it worked,” he says. “You have to look for the light in a situation, and not dwell on the darkness, or you won’t be able to move on.”
Hoffman, also a Junior in the Carpentry program, said he appreciated the opportunity to “write something that was fun to write”.
The writing contest is sponsored by the West Union Women’s Club (WUWC), a local arm of the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC).
According to the GFWC web site, the writing contest is meant to encourage students to “freely express themselves, as well as draw upon their experiences” to create either a poem or short story for submission.
Sheila Roush, the Educational Chairperson for the WUWC, calls the contest “both a choice and an opportunity for students” to showcase their talent.
She and the other committee members judged the entries on how well they met specific required literary standards.
“We were all so proud of how well written both of the winnings’ poems were,” she says. “This writing contest allows us to promote young people and recognize students for their work – that’s something we like to do.”
McGraw says the annual writing contest gives students a chance to communicate on a deeper level.
“They come here to learn a trade, but any time we can, we push writing and creativity,” she says. “Because our students are writers, they’re good writers.”