Twenty readers poured over 2,350 entries in this year’s 23rd annual Write Away!! Contest to come up with five finalists at each grade level.
Those selected works, considered the best of the best, were then ranked by a panel of 17 judges including elected officials, college administrators, librarians, retired teachers and authors.
Sponsored by the District Parent Council, this annual competition promotes and celebrates creative writing by students in Haverhill public schools.
Winners received gift cards, framed certificates of achievement, and a book of all the winning stories to show they are published authors. The competition is funded through donations to this all-volunteer program.
“During my commentary in between announcing the awards, I reminded all the winners that even though they may have gotten honorable mention it means that their accomplishments were better than about 250 others in their grade across the city, so it was an accomplishment to be proud of,” said Herb Bergh, District Parent Council director of communications and Write Away!! co-chairman.
City Councilor Tom Sullivan, one of this year’s judges, said he was impressed with the quality of the entries.
“I enjoyed reading through the stories and poems at every grade level, but was particularly impressed with the entries from students in the lower grades,” Sullivan said. “They were very creative, well thought out and fun to read.”
Sponsors of this year’s contest included Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, the Haverhill Foundation for Excellence in Education, contest founder Krystine Hetel, the District Parent Council and Whittier Regional High’s Graphic Arts Department.
Here is a list of this year’s winners, the titles of their work, their school and teacher:
First place: John Papageorgiou, “Riding my Bike,’’ Bradford Elementary, Mrs. Vinci
Second place: Alayjah Andrews, “My Dog is my Friend,’’ Golden Hill, Mrs. Delong