‘Letters About Literature’ Winners Announced

blueeggYesterday, the Maine Humanities Council announced the state winners of this year’s Letters About Literature competition.  For almost a decade, the Letters About Literature competition has encouraged students nationwide to “write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre– fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.”  There are three different levels of competiton – grades 4-6, grades 7 and 8, and grades 9-12.

For the state of Maine, Lucy Sternbach of Camden Rockport Middle School won for the youngest group.  Elyce Oliver of Biddeford Middle School won among the 7th and 8th grade entrants.  At the high school level, the winner was Kenyon Fraser of Litchfield.  Congratulations to these winners, and best of luck to our Maine representatives in the national competition!

I’d also like to encourage everyone young and old to write a note to an author (or artist, or essayist, or blogger) to let them know how much you enjoy their work.  Almost everyone that works creatively likes to hear back from the people who enjoy their work.  You might even be surprised how much a simple note of thanks or admiration means to someone you think of as a big name or celeb writer.  More often than not, you’ll even get a response!  My New Year’s Resolution this year was to thank creative folks for making the content I enjoy, and it has felt good to write to these people and a geeky joy to hear back from them.  Kudos to the Maine Humanities Council and the National Center for the Book for encouraging this behavior in students.

Check out the press release from the MHC – and the full list of Maine winners – after the jump.

April 30, 2009
Annie Medeiros, 207.773.5051 or annie@mainehumanities.org
Maine Humanities Council Announces Letters About Literature Winners
PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council, the state’s partner with the national Letters About Literature competition, announced the 2009 winners today. Lucy Sternbach of Camden Rockport Middle School won the Level I (grades 4-6) competition, Elyce Oliver of Biddeford Middle School won the state’s Level II (grades 7 & 8 ) competition and Kenyon Fraser of Litchfield succeeded in Level III (grades 9 – 12). A complete list of winners and semifinalists follows this article.
Letters About Literature encourages students to write to an author explaining how the author’s book changed their perspective and influenced their life. It is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and in partnership with Target, and locally by the David Royte Foundation. Teachers play an important role in this, utilizing this competition as an assignment, and working intensely with the students to refine their thoughts and improve their writing skills.
“The Maine Humanities Council has been involved with this program for many years,” notes Erik Jorgensen, Executive Director for the Maine Humanities Council. “This competition instills the love of reading and writing in Maine’s students, and this passion will hopefully serve them throughout their lives.”

About Maine Humanities Council
The Maine Humanities Council is an independent, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the people of Maine deepen their understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world. The Council works with volunteer literacy programs, educators, school systems and libraries to promote the power and pleasure of ideas through its programming; the Council also provides grants supporting projects in community history, exhibits, workshops and other areas of study.

Appleton Village School
Ashley Burr, third place

Bangor High School
Hina Hashmi, honorable mention
Leila Musavi
Caleb Shortt, honorable mention
Keji Xu

Biddeford Middle School
Elyce Oliver, first place

Brewer High School
Sara Chavari
Jillian Kitchen
Ambureen Rana
Shawn Williams

Camden Rockport Middle School
Lucy Sternbach, first place

Cape Elizabeth Middle School
Jane Coffrin
Alex Cooley
Clarice Diebold, second place
Courtney Guerette

Center for Teaching and Learning
Samantha Herter
Tess Hinchman, second place
Patrick Jackson
Graydon Nuki

Fairmount School
Jenna Bishop

George E. Jack School
Annabel Winterberg

Kennebunk High School
Molly Eaton

Greeley Middle School
Mikayla Martin

Laura Alvarez
Kenyon Fraser, first place
Taren McGray
Peter O’Brien

Lawrence Junior High School
Josie Champagne

Leavitt Area High School
Meagan Maguire

Lewiston Middle School
Madeline Blaisdell
Emily Craft
Fatuma Haji
Klass Pruiksma

Livermore Falls Middle School
Melissa Woodcock

Maine School of Science and Mathematics
Una Huang, second place

Mahoney Middle School
Keirstan Field

Marshwood Middle School
Georgia Barlow
Calvin Butler, honorable mention

Noble High School
Nick Moore, third place

Orono Middle School
Jennie Michaels

Pemetic Elementary School
Erin Connery
Mica Sophia Perruzzi

Penobscot Community School
Cedar Slagle
Clover Slagle

Saco Middle School
Myra Boissonneault
Quinn Campbell
Peyton Dill
Mitchell Jacques

Scarborough Middle School
Owen Anderson
Emily Carter, second place
Jenny Herrman, third place

Watershed School
Devin Fletcher
Brenda Reddy
Nora Wilaver, honorable mention

Waterville Junior High School
Blake Huerfamo, third place

Wells-Ogunquit C. S. D.
Dante Fanning

Wentworth Intermediate
Brielle Hardy


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