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Young Authors Earn Writing Awards From WVPB

The winner of this year's Readers’ Choice Award is Drake Rasnic of Mount Hope. His story, “Cheese World," will be made into an animated production by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Shown here in the center of the audience, he reacts to seeing a special preview of the animation during the awards ceremony for the 2021 PBS Kids Writers Contest at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, West Virginia.

Nineteen children from across the Mountain State have earned top writing awards in West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s 2021 PBS Kids Writers Contest.

Winners received certificates, prizes, cupcakes and were treated to special entertainment during a private awards ceremony for parents and their aspiring young authors and illustrators at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston last weekend.

These students penned stories and drew images in competition with kids in their grade level from across West Virginia. The contest was open to students in public and private schools, as well as those who are home schooled. This year, despite a pandemic and many students dealing with virtual learning, more than 160 students submitted stories that delighted WVPB Education Director Kelly Griffith and her panel of judges.

“I am so unbelievably proud of these children for their wonderful stories and creative illustrations. This was an impressive group of young writers, and we give a heartfelt congratulations to all the winners!” Griffith said. “It brought me great joy to showcase the winning stories and give West Virginia students some well-deserved recognition.”

The effort of all the children who entered the contest was not lost on Griffith. “I want to give a special thank you to all students who sent in entries because it takes courage to challenge yourself. I commend your willingness to participate, and I encourage every one of you to continue writing. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.”

This year’s contest was made possible with support from The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and fellow public broadcasting station WQED of Pittsburgh. The presentation was made spectacular by its unique entertainment. Gracing the stage were Tony M. Music, who is a children’s entertainer that integrates music, literature and storytelling into an educational, interactive and fun experience; and Karlie Belle Price, a local children’s author who read from her book, “Sally the Shoe, Helpful Soles.” Griffith expressed gratitude to “Mr. Music and Ms. Price.”

“They really made the day memorable for the kids and their families.”

Meet our winning authors and illustrators:

 A graphic of the 2021 PBS Kids Writers Contest Winners.

Nineteen West Virginia students were presented awards for Excellence in Writing by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Kindergarten Division

  • First place went to Carly Lou Witt of Charleston for the story, “Rachel’s New Puppy”
  • Second place went to Whitley Smith of Huttonsville for the story “Abigail’s Surprise”
  • Third place went to Elise Silber of South Charleston for the story “ Bianca’s Adventure”

First Grade Division

  • First place went to Jagger Staten of Amherstdale for the story “Leroy and the Magic Pencil”
  • Second place went to Harper Marsh of Brandywine for the story “The Butterfly That Liked Lemonade”
  • Third place went to Amelia Wriston of Red House for the story “Me and My Sore Toe”

Second Grade Division

  • First Place went to Bilal Qayyum of Charleston for the story “The Dance of the Snowflakes”
  • Second place went to Sophia Riley of Hurricane for the story “The Adventures of the Lost Kingdom”
  • Third place went to Margaret McEwuen of Charleston for the story “The Skeleton That Would Not Go Away”

Third Grade Division

  • First Place went to Matthew Farnsworth of Philippi for the story “The Time Traveling Squirrel Adventure”
  • Second place went to Mathew Carothers of Meadow Bridge for the story “Milo Gets a New Friend”
  • Third place went to Jackson Boone of Morgantown for the story “Bees Everywhere”

Fourth Grade Division

  • First Place went to Sophie Cornwell of Huntington for the story “Lily Space Veterinarian: Adventure in the Rain Wood Rain Forest”
  • Second place went to Ana Galvez Tolia of Morgantown for the story “The Story on How American Sign Language (ASL) Was Born!”
  • Third place went to Audrey Whitman of Charles Town for the story “From the Lone Star State to the Mountain State”

Fifth Grade Division

  • First place went to Tucker Wiant of Martinsburg for the story “Rocky in the Smokies”
  • Second place went to Sydney Wilson of Ona for the story “From Little to Big”
  • Third place went to Alaina Gialone of Bruceton Mills of “Cheetah Facts”

Readers’ Choice Award
The winner of this special award is Drake Rasnic of Mount Hope for the story “Cheese World.” Rasnic’s story will be made into an animated production by WVPB assistant producer Daniel Walker. Click here to see a preview.