World in Potsdam Diversity Festival writing contest winners announced
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 4:55 pm

POTSDAM -- The 2010 World in Potsdam Diversity Festival Writing Contest awarded $455 in prizes to local students recently at Clarkson University’s Student Center during the festival.

The festival congratulates the winners and applauds the 92 students and six teachers who participated.

Students responded to one of four contest themes in three age categories.

Students in the 5th grade and Below category wrote letters to a friend in Potsdam about a cultural festival of their choice. Many wrote about Chinese New Year, Mexican Day of the Dead, and the Iroquois Strawberry Festival.

High school students in the 9th-12th Grade category were offered the themes of Global Service or Global Music. The Global Service theme required writing a proposed for a year of service abroad to work on a problem in a developing country. The proposals required collaboration with an existing organization and local residents. The Global Music theme required participants to create a story inspired by a piece of music as well as an artist's statement about the choice of music. Student writers in all categories produced writing that was creative, persuasive, enthusiastic, and specific.

Educator Michele Pinard commented that the Writing Contest “gives the students and their teachers an authentic task – an audience, an incentive, and a plausible scenario - to which they may apply their critical thinking skills within an interdisciplinary approach to meeting NYS curriculum standards. It is becoming increasingly rare for students to have opportunities like the contest provides to cultivate and showcase their connections to broader world issues through public writing.” Pinard served as a contest judge and is a SUNY Potsdam faculty member with a background in international service.

Another judge praised the participants for their commitment to the craft of writing. Contest judge and SUNY Potsdam alumna Eudora Watson commented that “writing is a craft. These young writers have shown a willingness to pay attention to requirements, to write, to listen to feedback and to return their work to make it better.” She added that “these writers join a long tradition of writers who enter their work in competitions. . . , testing the quality of their work and raising the standard of writing for everyone.”

In the 5th grade and below category, Hye Yoon Jung of Mrs. Tracy DeRushia’s class at Lawrence Avenue Elementary won first place. Kaitlyn Wells and Abigail White from Mrs. Rebecca Rose-Quade’s class at Parishville Hopkinton Central School tied for second place. The runners-up were their classmates Emma Snell, Jayda Sullivan, and Chelsea Beamis. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Kyle Woods, Keely Smith, Taylor Razis, Jeff Newton, and Allaina Zellweger.

The contest is co-sponsored by the Potsdam College Writing Center, and this year tutors facilitated revision activities in Miss Lynn Tharrett’s 5th grade class at A.A. Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Therefore, this group was scored separately. Kristen Parker won first place and Adam Parker (no relation) won second place. Runners-up were Hunter Wilson, Emma Ormsby, and Brandon Rawson. Special Honorable Mentions were awarded to Sarah Dominy and Joel Hinman. Other Honorable Mentions were awarded to Kristy-Leigh Coyle, Eugene Li, Jaehyun Lee, Gabrielle Sutliff, and Hali Walrath.

In the Global Music category, Sadie Tomko won first place. Catherine Brownell and Carrie Anne Potter tied in second place. Runners-up were Ivan Jukic, Brian Timmerman, and Nick Vaccarro. The Honorable Mentions were Amanda Dillon, Buck Doheny-Farina, Anna Merchant, Clarissa Mitchell, Ebuka Ononye, Billy Sokol, and Daniel Stone. All entrants were from Mrs. Pamela Dumas’ English classes at the Potsdam High School.

In the Global Service category, Frances Clark and Avery Nagy-MacArthur tied for first place. Allana Connelly and Ruisheng Wang tied in second place. Runners-up were Cecily Westall, Cassie Grace, and Hannah Gingrich. The Honorable Mentions were Sebastian Grimberg, Steven Hayes, Arian Mahmoodi, Kris Merchant, Lily Nagy-MacArthur, and Hui Yang. All entrants were from Mrs. April Barnes’ class at the Potsdam High School.

Judging the entries was a rigorous task and was taken on by several generous teachers, students, and community members. The 5th grade entries were judged by community members Eudora Watson and Kim Jukic; SUNY Potsdam faculty member Marta Albert and three of her Literacy graduate students (Bridget Rank, Kelly Mostyn, and Ashley Bowles); and, from the Potsdam College Writing Center, tutors Brenton Johnson and Amanda Sherman, director Jennifer Mitchell, and several tutors-in-training.

The Global Music entries were scored by Crane School of Music student Andromahi Kontos, Crane staff member Jenny Mabee, and Jennifer Mitchell. The Global Service entries were scored by SUNY Potsdam student Torie DeGhett, SUNY Potsdam faculty member Michele Pinard, SUNY Potsdam Environmental Studies majors, and Jennifer Mitchell.

The Writing Contest prompts were created by Carol Rossi-Fries, Marsha Baxter, and Jennifer Mitchell, SUNY Potsdam faculty members.