Wooster City School District’s (WCSD) PenOhio team, which consists of a seventh-grade, eighth-grade, junior varsity and varsity team, celebrated a successful school year, including the seventh grade team receiving the State Champion distinction.
PenOhio is a grassroots, interscholastic writing competition for students in grades 7-12 that originated in northeast Ohio to encourage schools to field a writing team.
The seventh grade team earned first place, overall, to become State Champions at the Pen Ohio State Tournament, which took place at Lake Erie College on Friday, May 17. The Middle School Team (combined seventh and eighth grade) ranked fourth overall.
At the tournaments, students are given a creative writing prompt and have 40 minutes to compose their stories alongside five other students. After three rounds, students are scored on a holistic rubric out of a possible 100 points per piece of writing. They are then ranked one through six, with one being the highest ranking. The scores are added together at the end of the tournament to determine both individual and team winners.
WCSD’s PenOhio team is advised by head coach Chelsey Porter, a WHS English and Reading teacher, and assistant coach Michael Sexton, a Language Arts teacher at Edgewood Middle School. Wooster’s district-wide PenOhio club is made up of more than 40 students of all grade levels, and the competitive teams are selected by the coaches from the club.
“We are extremely proud of the outstanding performance of our PenOhio students this year,” said Porter. “By joining PenOhio, students gain stronger creative writing skills as they explore a variety of prompts. This allows them to create a portfolio of writing from which many of the participants gather ideas for longer pieces of writing or even novels.”
This is the first year Wooster High School students grades 9-12 are able to be involved in PenOhio, which was an opportunity previously offered to only middle school students. Now, students have the possibility of being involved in the program for six years.
Most notably, Noah Carroll was the seventh grade state champion. Seventh graders, Chloe Bennet (sixth), Lesli Drager (eighth) and Aubrey Beall (23rd) all ranked in the top 25. Eighth graders, Lauren Ciha (fourth) and Ashley Schroer (eighth) all ranked in the top ten.
PenOhio is currently comprised of public, private and parochial schools across Ohio and is the flagship of the national non-profit, State Charter of The United Fellowship of the Pen (UFP). The program relies on praise and inspiration to help young people develop confidence in a written voice that is uniquely and powerfully their own.
“We are proud of all of the students on the PenOhio team and are honored to have them represent Wooster at the State level,” said Director of Secondary Education, Richard Leone. “Their success this season is a true testament to the hard work and growth our students have experienced throughout the school year.”