Five students from the Dempsey Middle School will be travelling to Granville Middle School Saturday to take part in the regional Power of the Pen competition.
Grace Metz, a seventh grader; Mia Angulo, a seventh-grader; Anna Leigh, an eighth-grader; Briona Mumper, an eighth-grader; and Ella Fronduti, a seventh-grader, recently competed in the district Power of the Pen competition, which involves students receiving a prompt and having 40 minutes to write a story using that prompt.
The team said the prompts can be focused or broad, which can be challenging.
“We get the prompt and basically respond to it,” Leigh said, adding the group generally liked the prompt requiring skates of some sort but disliked the open-ended prompt about a crisp spring morning. She said participants have to write with pen and paper, and are put into rooms with no familiar faces.
Angulo said the team really has to write to its strengths and not let the prompt be a hindrance.
“If you feel unsure, it’s best to write in a style you’re comfortable with,” Angulo said. “There’s some people, like me, that just cannot write people that well … so I just write wolves and dragons. There are some people that only write other things. It’s a really neat experience.”
Leigh said coming up with ideas before getting the prompt is also a good idea.
“It’s really good to get ideas flowing beforehand so you don’t just stare blankly at a piece of paper for 20 minutes,” Leigh said. “Don’t stop to think, just keep writing. If you take a break, you lose all your ideas.”
Metz said she has a different problem during competitions.
“I can’t control whether I laugh or not,” Metz joked. “I started laughing (during the district competition) and everyone was staring at me.”
Metz, Angulo and Leigh said they were nervous for the competition, but Mumper and Fronduti said they weren’t stressing about it.
“It’s not that hard,” Fronduti said. “Just write your story … (Power of the Pen) helps me find ways to improve my writing, so I can write my best.”
Mumper said she “loves to write” and she is excited, not nervous for the competition. Mumper took seventh place in the eighth-grade competition last month during the district competition with Dempsey students and students from 22 other schools.
Even though they didn’t make it to the regional competition, the other five members of the team say they enjoy the program, because it gives them a creative outlet.
“It influences us and helps us create ideas,” said Katie Fink, an eighth-grader. “We can learn from those ideas and spark some new inspiration.”
Lexx Lambert, a seventh-grader, said she actually likes having a writing prompt when she has to write something.
“It can be hard to come up with your own prompt,” Lambert said. “Even if some prompts are questionable … The feedback helps a lot.”
Marta Bourget, a seventh-grader, said she has more of a problem coming up with a title for her story than the actual story itself.
Eighth-grader Adam Fronduti agreed. He said the title is critical because “it’s the first impression” of the story.
Ian Frye, an eighth-grader, said the biggest challenge for him is when he comes up with an idea but doesn’t have the knowledge of the subject to pull it off.
“I wanted to write a story about new parents, but I obviously don’t know what that’s like,” Frye said. “I need to be able to connect (to the story) to be good.”
The students who succeed in in the regional competition will move on to the state finals at the College of Wooster on May 23-24.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.