BELOIT-The West Branch Middle School Power of the Pen eighth-grade team became regional champions by beating 31 other teams from nine counties March 3 at Malone University.
This same team won regionals as a seventh grade team in 2011 as well. Team members are Elsa Buehler, Kaylie Day, Brianna Long, Torie Stratton, Paige Walsh, and Megan Winters.
Winning individual awards and qualifying for the state tournament in May at the College of Wooster were Torie Statton, daughter of Crystal and Robert Stratton of Salem, who earned an eighth place medal; and Megan Winters, daughter of Mary and Edwin Winters of North Benton who won first place out of 102 eighth-grade regional writers. She also received a college scholarship award from the College Advantage Savings Plan.
Competing at the seventh-grade level were Zoie Bailey, Maddie Buehler, Madi Definbaugh, and Ragan Kirksey who will find out in the next two weeks if they have qualified for state competition. A total of 24 percent of the regional writers will advance to the state tournament. Helping out as ballot runners were WBMS Power of the Pen extra writers Kaley Anderson, Shae Haas, Bailey Polinori, Erica Scarpitti, Lauren Stitle, Taylor Vence, Sarah Yerkey and Johnathen McFall.
Writers wrote three rounds of writing, in groups of six, never having the same judge, never a judge from their own school, or ever having to compete against the same writers more than once. Students are ranked out of six and also assigned quality points for each piece of writing. For immediate feedback, the writers get to go home with scores and comments from the judges. This year's regional writing prompts were in seventh grade: "Outnumbered develop a narrative based on this word"; "The weapon write about one that succeeds in getting you what you want"; and, "The gold frame is beautiful but empty. Why is there no picture in it?"
In eighth grade the prompts were as follows: "Obsessed with what?"; "The prize describe one that is not worth winning"; and, "The letter write about one you were never intended to read. Its contents are disturbing."
Parents Tamara Buehler and Mary Winters helped as volunteers in the tab room, and teachers Susan Hartzell, Tonya Edie, and Heidi Katabi-Kekel helped judge at the tournament. Also judging was the WBMS Power of the Pen Team Coach Libbie Romigh.