JAMESTOWN — After finishing second place in a recent PenOhio competition, a group of student writers presented their award-winning works to members of the Greeneview Local Schools Board of Education during a regular meeting March 9.
PenOhio’s mission is to make high school writing a sport — first in Ohio, then beyond — and it is doing so now in regions throughout the state.
“We had a junior varsity team, grades nine and 10, and a varsity team, grades 11 and 12,” said Greeneview High School Principal Brian Masser. “This is an extension of the middle school Power of the Pen competition, a narrative style writing competition.”
Masser and teacher Brittany DeWitt accompanied the students in their presentations to the board.
Power of the Pen is an interscholastic writing league founded by Lorraine B. Merrill in 1986 for students in grades seven and eight. PenOhio was founded by Merrill’s son, Thomas Merrill, last year.
In the southwest region, which includes Greene County, Masser said there were 26 teams – of which 12 were varsity and 14 were junior varsity. Other area schools that in the competition included Cedarville.
“It was very encouraging to have so many students who are passionate about writing in one place,” Masser said. “Each time the student writes, they have the opportunity to share their voice, which in turn allows the readers to learn about the experiences of others.”
One of the other positive outcomes, Masser said, is that PenOhio is going to offer model writing samples from the competition for teachers to use in classrooms.
“This is a fun extracurricular activity,” he said. “But it also has an instructional component that goes back into the classroom. For participating, PenOhio is producing video lessons for schools to use in the classroom.”
Board President Kathy Hollingsworth gave students pens after their presentations.
In other business, the board approved the purchase of two new school buses, authorizing Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council to advertise and receive bids on behalf of the board.
The buses are 72-passenger 2016 Blue Bird All American buses from Cardinal Bus Sales and Services Inc.
The cost for the regular bus is $83,500 and $89,851 for the wheelchair lift bus. School officials said the current wheelchair lift bus is down, so replacing it is an urgent matter.
“We really need to get those in as fast as possible,” Superintendent Isaac Seevers said. “The wheelchair bus is down. There was a miscommunication between us and Cardinal, so they promised they’ll get it turned around as quick as possible … It should be a fairly quick turnaround.”
Brian Evans is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.