Two Wood students win Young Writers contest

CHARLESTON – Two students in Wood County Schools took top honors Friday at the 2014 Young Writers Day at the University of Charleston.

The annual statewide competition recognizes and encourages writing excellence from first grade through high school.

Alayna Garst, a second-grader at Williamstown Elementary School, took first place in the West Virginia Young Writers Contest for first- and second-grades.

Emilee Ellison, a fifth-grader at Greenmont Elementary School, took first place in the fifth- and sixth-grades competition.

More than 100 students attended Friday’s event, which featured John Lilly, editor of Goldenseal Magazine and award winning singer-songwriter, presenting a keynote address and leading a writing workshop.

The day’s events also included workshops by other authors from the region.

“Writing is one of the most important skills for academic and professional success,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “As we prepare students, clear communication through writing is more important than ever.”

“As an affiliate of the National Writing Project, we are dedicated to encouraging writing in all subject areas and throughout the educational lives of all West Virginians,” said Paul Epstein, director of the West Virginia Young Writers Contest.

The contest is funded through an allocation in the state budget to Marshall University for the writing project and supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, Marshall University Graduate College of Education and Professional Development, and the University of Charleston with additional assistance from Mountain State Press.