2016 Write Challenge Focuses on 'Reality' K-12 Writers Can Compete in District's Annual Contest
your student a budding Shakespeare? Or the next Elizabeth Barrett
Browning? If so, the 2016 “Write Challenge” is an excellent way for them
to blossom as a young author. This year’s contest theme is “reality”
and it’s is open to all Lakota students in grades K-12.
encourage students to interpret the topic any way they want,” said event
organizer and Lakota LEADS past-president Angela Grimm. “It’s
fabulous to see where their imagination and creativity can take them.
Some write personal essays and poems that are intense or moving and
some choose to go in completely the opposite direction—light-hearted,
fantasy stories that transform you to another world.”
Challenge has three categories that students can enter: poetry,
personal essay and narrative-- fiction or non-fiction. Students
compete based on grade brackets and judges are university professors,
professionals, local educators and others who are passionate about
writing. Students can enter one category or all three.
first encouraged by my parents to enter the first-ever Write Challenge
as a second-grader with a hobby of writing poetry. When I heard my
poem had won first place I was shocked and hooked on the Write
Challenge,” said student participant Michelle Ballman. “Since
then, I have entered the competition nearly every year, expanded my
horizons to narratives as well, and pulled out several more wins. This
program has been an amazing opportunity for me to expand on my
creativity, gain confidence in my writing abilities, and learn a lot in
The Write Challenge was originally started by
Lakota’s Gifted Services and then supported by LEADS beginning three
years ago. LEADS parent group’s mission is to provide enrichment
opportunities for all students in the district. The group sponsors
activities like the recent Pi Day, brings in speakers as part of a
Parent Connect Series, and hosts student book clubs.
second grade teacher at VanGorden Elementary, has seen her students
explore writing in a new way through the contest. “By participating in
the Write Challenge writing contest, all of my students grew as
writers. The contest allowed my students to choose the genre they
would use to explore last year’s theme, ‘Grit.’”
And for the
winners of the contest, Grimm said, “The Celebration of Writing
Reception that we hold is a wonderful evening for students and
families. A local author shares with the students their journey of
writing and inspires these young authors to keep moving forward with
This was echoed by Fox. “My students who were
recognized at the awards program were proud of their ability to
express themselves as writers. And, I appreciated the opportunity for
them to be recognized outside of the classroom. It was a wonderful
experience for all.”
LEADS is currently accepting writing submissions. All entries are due on April 4 and must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners of this year’s Write Challenge will be invited to the
Celebration of Writing Reception on May 12. For more about the
contest, including anthologies of past winners, visit the LEADS website.
Winners of last year's Write Challenge shown here at the Celebration of Writing Reception.
Local author Doug Coates shared some inspirational messages at last year's Celebration of Writing Reception.