Dozens of students recognized in cursive writing contest

Published May 19, 2018 at 4:10pm

A Rome school district cursive writing contest for elementary students has become “one of my favorite things to be a part of,” says Board of Education President Paul Fitzpatrick.

Forty-five students in grades 3 and 4 from throughout the district were recognized at the board meeting Wednesday night and were awarded prize money funded through donations, as the top finishers in the contest that is in its fifth consecutive year. The meeting was at Bellamy Elementary School.

This year’s topic for a cursive writing essay was “What I like best about Rome.”

Former board president Patricia Riedel, who conceived the contest, said among students’ favorite things as noted in the essays were the Nicky Doodles and Papa Ricks eateries, going to the Olney’s business to cut down Chrisimas trees, and “they love parades.”

Riedel said “take that to heart, people of Rome,” adding there are good things for children to do around the community

When Riedel originally developed the contest, she had expressed concern about the decline of cursive writing in schools nationally. Supporters of cursive writing have cited its importance as an overall learning tool, and for such functions as signing a name on documents.

The essays again were judged by President/Publisher of the Rome Daily Sentinel, Stephen B. Waters, whom Riedel praised for his efforts.

Without him, she commented, “we probably would not have had the thorough judging” that the contest has seen.

Cursive writing is “the fastest way to capture a thought on paper,” Waters told the audience before prize-winners were announced. A person can “look at it tomorrow,” and see if the thought “makes as much sense tomorrow as you think it did today,” he added.

Waters also mentioned the benefits of a “struggle” to learn cursive writing, including practicing the usage of that style and the formation of its letters. Whether it is learning that or various pursuits like a sport or other endeavors, he said, “half the battle” is in “falling down” but being able to “get up and struggle” some more. He observed “you can get upset as long as you get up and try again.”

Among the award winners:

• First place ($65) — Third-graders Enya Rolland, Ethan Makuch, Malik Fleij, Elodie Smith, Rocco Nelson, Sophia Ramirez, Ashley Croniser; fourth-graders Elizabeth LaPointe, Madison Fox, Madeline Mattoon, Amerie Smith, Alexandria Lubecki, Wyatt Conley, Eric Creekmore.

• Second place ($30) — Third-graders Tayia Clarke, Ahziya Matthews-Smith, Haley Huening, Jordynn Sullivan, Eria Hunley, Alexandra Manno; fourth-graders Gianna Velez, Makenzie Chalke, Elsy Sanabria, Gina Rizio, Rory Voci.

• Third place ($15) — Third-graders Niya Winston, Thomas Liese, Kathleen Podkowka, Carter Brazinski, Roosevelt Cruz, Ian Conley; fourth-graders Zephaniah Ricketts, Breeanna Benoit, Aileen Carey, Ariel Bortle.

• Honorable mention ($10) — Third-graders Michael Cullop, Nadia Fox, Aaliyah Weather, Rachel O’Rourke, Aliloria Guy, Emma Rafferty; fourth-graders J’La Christine Daniels, Finnian Simpson, Allison McGowan, Marialaina Cooney.

Students each received a commemorative certificate and a cashier’s check. Donors for the prize money included Riedel, former school board member Mary Davis, local resident Ann Meisenhelder, and each of the district’s seven elementary school parent-teacher groups.

The contest, which this year was launched about three months ago at each elementary school, drew 147 entries, said Riedel.

Noting the district has 806 students in grades three and four overall, she said “hopefully, if we do it again next year” the contest can “get a few more entries.”

Among judging criteria for the annual contest have been cursive writing appearance such as form, slant and spacing, plus the opinion writing including the introductions, transitions between ideas, and the ending.