Enduring Excellence in Learning, Leadership, Innovation, and Service

Indian Hill Middle School students author stories of success in Power of the Pen

Elsa Zhou

“I am a writer.”

Taped to red lockers throughout the halls of Indian Hill Middle School (IHMS) – that was the message on the signs used to cheer on 11 IHMS students participating in the Saturday, January 26, Power of the Pen (POP) District Tournament hosted at Mariemont Junior High School. Braves joined 150 students from 14 other schools and produced an amazing 33 original stories throughout the course of the competition. Indian Hill earned nine superior ratings and 22 honors ratings from Power of the Pen judges.

“Our writers demonstrated their expertise in and passion for writing throughout this competition, and we are incredibly proud of the courage they showed in sharing their work,” said IHMS teacher Dr. Kim Given.

IHMS student Elsa Zhou took top overall prize for the second year in a row, and IHMS students Joy On, Amelia Decker, and Maria Nath came in first place in one of their three writing rounds. The IHMS seventh-grade team earned fourth place overall, and IHMS student Sophia Chen was awarded sixth place with IHMS student Keegan Sheanshang taking eighth place.  

POP is an interscholastic creative competitive writing program for seventh and eighth graders. Students may choose to participate as a competitor or as a way to hone their writing skills. The competitions and practices revolve around writers receiving a prompt and then writing a complete story in 40 minutes. The emphasis is on creativity, characters, coherence, and a strong, beginning, middle, and end. IHMS teacher Toni Roark brought POP to Braves during the 2001-2002 school year, and has witnessed talented writers go through the program.

“I feel the program is important to both celebrate creative thinking and to make writing fun and approachable for middle school students,” said Roark. “We have had some amazing writers pass through our doors, and many have come back to tell us how writing has played an important part in their post-Indian Hill School District education.”

“Sharing our stories is part of what it means to be Brave,” said Dr. Given. “We believe that the practice of writing is one of the most important ways we can improve in our thinking, our creativity, and in our ability to connect and communicate with others, and we appreciate organizations like Power of the Pen to help enhance the writing experience for our students.”

Several Braves will advance to the Regional Competition to be held at Wyoming Middle School on March 16.

Photo caption: IHMS student Elsa Zhou took top overall prize for the second year in a row at the Power of the Pen District Tournament.