Fifth, Eighth Grade Students Honored in Superintendent's Writing Award Program

June 4, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC – June 4, 2009 – Seventy fifth-graders and 67 eighth grade students have been honored as this year’s district winners in the State Superintendent’s Writing Award program. 

The purpose of the program is to support the teaching of South Carolina’s academic standards and provide fifth and eighth grade students an opportunity to express themselves through the writing process.

District winners were selected from class and school winners by a panel of readers. The 2008-09 writing prompts focused on the topic of financial literacy.  The fifth grade essay topic was: Discuss how saving contributes to financial well-being.  Do you think it is important to start saving at your current age?  Why or why not? 

Eighth grade writers had this topic to consider: Think about the current economic crisis in our country. Why is it important that every individual be responsible for personal financial decisions?  How can you start learning financial responsibility at your age? 

Essays are judged on their content and development, organization, vocabulary and phrasing, and on the writer’s command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. 

The ability to communicate in writing is absolutely crucial, whether you’re at work or at home, State Superintendent of Education Rex said.  These students are developing their writing skills while thinking about critical issues that are facing our society today.

The writing award program was formerly conducted by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, but was sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Education for the first time this year. 

 This program provides an authentic opportunity for students to write, said coordinator Caroline Savage.  In order to learn to write well, students must write often for a variety of purposes and audiences. As they write more cohesively about increasingly sophisticated ideas, this ensures their academic success.

Dr. Rex and Dr. Valerie Harrison, Deputy Superintendent for the Division of Standards and Learning, presented district winners with a plaque at a recent awards ceremony.  District winners are also invited to participate in a summer writing institute to be held June 23 at Irmo Middle School.