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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

With creative minds and the Power of the Pen, the writing skills of the seventh and eighth grade teams from Tipp Middle School thwarted the opposition at district. Moved this year from the Botkins district to McKinney’s, who always dominates and where the competition is more challenging, Tipp refused to be intimated. While the eighth grade team finished first overall, the seventh graders were also successful by coming in second place for their grade level behind the perennial powerhouse McKinney Middle School.

Each team member writes for three 40 minute periods on three different prompts they had never seen before. They are judged on creativity, voice/unity, structure/ideas, and figurative language.

Coached by Ms. Amy Armentrout, the eighth grade team consists of Sydney Ignet, Mary Kate Lee, Tori Livesay, Jenny Peele, Faith Walker and Maya Vyas. They all enjoy the opportunity that writing brings to stretch their minds to new levels of creativity.

In her first year of Power of the Pen, Jenny Peele likes the freedom that writing in the fantasy genre brings. “You can write whatever you want and just go with it,” she said. Peele was led to join the team after winning the holiday story contest, sponsored by the Tipp City Area Arts Council.

To finish first against 9 other schools was a thrilling surprise for the eighth graders, especially against such stiff competition. It’s an accomplishment that Armentrout is very proud of the team for, “I was concerned because McKinney always dominates, but we showed them,” she said.

Some individual honors were also awarded as Faith Walker finished in second overall with Honorable Mention for Best of Round for round #1. The achievement was unexpected by Faith, “I heard name and was like ‘What?’ I was really surprised,” she said.

And Tori Livesay, whose also first year member, was named as coming in 12th. There are fifty-sixty students competing in each grade level.

The seventh grade team, coached by Mrs. Bridget Hughes includes Taylor Hudson, Lauren Wyant, Abby Walker, Laura Fink, Gillian Schlotterbeck and Victoria Nordquist. Victoria was the winner amongst all the seventh graders with three straight ones (highest score on each piece of writing) and Honorable Mention for Best of Round in rounds one and three. Taylor Hudson took third place.

Victoria was very pleased with her achievement and enjoys writing for the alternative voice it provides. “I like to express myself in writing,” she said.

She is currently working on a novel and is following what she’s learned from being part of Power of the Pen, “Always be creative and go out of the box,” she said.

Both teams will compete again on Saturday, March 23 for regionals at Fort Loramie Middle School. Qualifiers from regionals will go on state Memorial Day weekend at the College of Wooster.

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