Student writing honored

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More than 20 students were honored for their writings at the Young Writers reception last week.

Every year, students from all Suffolk Public Schools submit their writings in four categories — fiction, nonfiction, autobiography and poetry — for the Young Writers program, sponsored by the Suffolk Reading Council.

Suffolk Reading Council president Jennifer Soriano, who also teaches fourth grade at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, said students are encouraged to participate as part of their curriculum.

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“It’s not necessarily mandatory, but it’s encouraged,” she said.

After every school chooses winners from each class for each category, the entries are sent to the citywide competition.

A committee made up of several community members, including former teachers, selects the winners, Soriano said.

The reception was held April 27 as a way for parents, teachers and administrators to honor the students.

Soriano said she was pleased more than 200 people came out to the event.

As a new addition this year, students accepted their certificates alongside their teachers at the reception.

“It gave the teacher some ownership in helping the student along,” Soriano said.

Soriano said they had a lot of great entries for the competition this year.

“They were so good,” she said. “You could tell the students worked hard.”

She said two of her favorite entries were “Just Leave Me Alone,” by Yvette Gamor, a fifth-grader at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, and “Sapphire,” by Kaylie Hewitt, a fifth-grader at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School.

“Just Leave Me Alone,” which won first place for fifth grade fiction, covered the sensitive subject of bullying.

In “Sapphire,” Kaylie used great descriptive writing to transport the readers into the science fiction story, Soriano said.

“When you were reading her book, you actually felt like you were there,” she said.

Kaylie received third place in fifth-grade fiction for “Sapphire.”

Soriano also enjoyed two nonfiction stories about having appendicitis.

Students at two different schools who both dealt with appendicitis during winter break wrote the stories. Southwestern fifth grader Reann Nichols won first place in nonfiction for her account of the experience.