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Easton Area Middle School Celebrates Young Writers

Fifth- and sixth-grade classes host 'writing olympics' with author Alan St. Jean.

All fifth- and sixth-grade classes at competed in "Olympic games" last week with the hopes of clinching gold medals awarded today in the school auditorium.

Instead of showcasing their athletic skills, it was their writing skills on display after a week of coaching by author, speaker and teacher Alan St. Jean.

Author of the medieval "Aidan of Oren" chapter books, St. Jean conducted a weeklong writing workshop for an estimated 1,300 students who focused on genres including fantasy, romance, humor and oodles of horror.

"Everything in these stories comes from the children. I was only the editor. If it was a good idea – we ran with it. If it wasn’t – I kicked it back and told them to work harder," St. Jean said.

Combining their efforts, the students authored approximately a dozen short stories accompanied by illustrations designed by select students. Under St. Jean’s guidance, their stories came alive using an open format with emphasis on voice.

"I learned a lot about Easton students. They are funny, smart and a little twisted. These stories show their true nature," he said.

Among the works vying for gold included “Harry the Homeless Hobo,” "Mr. Jingles,” “Charlie the Doll,” “Willa of the Woods,” “Girl-Zilla” and “The Adventures of Chippy Butterworth.”

Judged by Writing Enrichment teachers Linda Martin, Robin Moran and Jane Weidan, the competition was fierce while teams of student erupted in applause when St. Jean read their works.

With points hanging in the balance on criteria based on originality, interest, connecting with the reader, energy and the WOW factor, “Girl-Zilla” took home the gold.

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