Cursive contest winners show they have the write stuff

Published May 19, 2017 at 4:00pm

“I hope that all of you encourage your children to continue to write,” former Board of Education member Patricia Riedel told an audience including parents of students being recognized in a Rome school district cursive writing contest.

The importance of cursive writing was emphasized by Riedel and other speakers before 45 district students in grades 3 and 4 were awarded Wal-Mart gift-card prizes for their top finishes in the contest, during the Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.

The contest, in its fourth year, was conceived by Riedel, who has expressed concern about the decline of cursive writing in schools nationally. Donors for the gift-card prizes included Wal-Mart, $2,000; Riedel and former school board member Mary Davis, $310 each; and local woman Ann Meisenhelder, $200.

A total of 245 entries were in the contest, said President/Publisher of the Rome Daily Sentinel, Stephen B. Waters, who judged them. Students were to compose a speech, article or essay on what they like best about their school, and do so using cursive writing.

“Cursive writing is something you will always be able to use,” said Davis, noting the need to “know how to sign your name” such as on paychecks when students get older and get jobs. It is a “wonderful opportunity to add a tool to your toolbox you’ll be able to use all your life,” she added.

Wal-Mart representative Laura Mead said “cursive writing is important,” observing the multiple documents that are signed as an associate at Wal-Mart, for example. She told students to “keep learning...trying...practicing....Use it forever.”

Waters said that “to be sure I understood the difficulty” of the contest, he entered it himself and “judged myself.” He told students, “many of you beat me,” drawing chuckles from the audience. The judging criteria included several categories for the cursive writing appearance such as form, slant and spacing, plus the opinion writing such as the introduction, transitions between ideas, and the ending.

Reading aloud from his essay in cursive writing titled “Why I write,” Waters said “....I write to know myself better. Words stick to the paper to help me think....The secret to writing is the same as for music, sports, and everything else. Practice, and the struggle gets easier to be smarter, wiser, stronger, better and happier....”

Among the award winners:

• First place ($100 gift cards) — Madison Richardson; J’La Daniels; Kenzie Doyle; Danielle Andrewski; Julia Thet; Amelia Furbeck; Grady Engelbert; Evelyn Valdivia; Eric Creekmore; Jaelynn Clark; William Leonard; Alyssa Hawkins.

• Second place ($60 gift cards) — Carlos Puello; Bella Viola; Kaleigh Premo; Claire Favata; Dustin Joy; Madeline Feeney; San’Jole Coleman; Gina Recchio; Arin DiPasqua; Madelene Cauterucci; Aaliyah Jackson; Sora Kiedrowski.

• Third place ($50 gift cards) —Madisyn Peck; Hannah Coleman; Breeanna Benoit; Kenidee Campbell; Jazmin Barnes; Marissa Hurley; Zianna Logan; Alizae Sepulveda; Lydia Monroe; Trinity Ahrens; Dylan Mogel.

• Honorable mention ($25) — Jonathyn Langone; Madisyn Grimsey; Alexa Thompson; Lily Watson; Gabrielle Seeley; Arianna Galante; Alexandria Lubecki; Molly Call; Makayla Howard; Aidan Curry.

• In addition, three Wal-Mart gift cards were awarded for classes with the most participants; cards are to be used for ice cream parties. They included teacher Denise Luczak’s third-grade class at Denti, a $50 card; and the Ridge Mills school third-grade classes of Tricia Biron and Leah Closinski, a $25 card for each.

Fourth-grade entries from Denti and Joy schools totaled just two and three respectively, and did not cover all of the prize categories, said Riedel. That resulted in the overall awards for classes with the most participants, she explained. The contest included third- and fourth-grade participants from all six of the district’s K-4 schools.

Board President Paul Fitzpatrick thanked organizers and participants “for the wonderful job you’ve done...the great prizes...and the enthusiasm of our cursive writers....Keep writing.”