Four McPherson Elementary Students Earn Writing Awards

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
November 17, 2016
photo by Cheyenne Derksen

Four McPherson elementary students received special recognition this week as winners in the 2016 Kansas Author’s Club Youth Writing Contest.

“The end of the school year is always busy, and spring of 2016 was no different,” said Paul Carver, a fifth grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary (EES) who honored the winning students at Monday’s school board meeting.

“Despite last-minute field trips, spring sports, and the million other things vying for their attention, a few students in McPherson Elementary Schools were busy typing away to compete at the 2016 Kansas Author’s Club Youth Writing contest.”

A Roosevelt Elementary 2nd grader, Braxton Burgess, won 3rd place with his fiction piece called “Bro the Buffalo.”

“He was a student at Roosevelt, so I didn’t even know that he had submitted writing,” Carver said. “So it was really exciting for me when I got to look at the results and see his name.”

Three more winning entries came from students who are in Carver’s own fifth grade class at EES.

Joslynn Riley won honorable mention in the fiction category with her piece entitled “Batter Up.”

“It’s a great story about how softball can be a lot of fun, but it also has its bumps, bruises… and worse,” Carver summarized.

Joshua Bocox also received honorable mention in the same fiction category with his piece entitled “The Mystery of the Blue Bandit.”

“In this story, a crew of young detectives must solve a string of crimes where everything stolen is blue.”

Jordan Vanderhoof won the fifth to sixth grade nonfiction category with a piece she wrote about supporting her mom earning her doctorate during a trip to New Orleans. Carver offered a small sampling of Jordan’s descriptive language.

“With her story entitled, ‘New Orleans,’ Jordan wrote, ‘My grandpa, grandma, brother, dad, and I zig-zagged through the tons of people who had all showed up. We raced into the building. The building seemed as long as a city block!’

“With figurative language like this, it’s easy to see that Jordan’s efforts were deserving of her award.”

Jordan and Braxton will each receive a certificate and medal for their first and third place wins. They along with Joshua and Joslynn are invited to an award ceremony where they will each read their stories to an audience. The students’ stories will also be included in the Kansas Author’s Club Youth Writing book that’s published annually. 

Photo Caption: Joshua Bocox; Joslynn Riley; Jordan Vanderhoof; and Braxton Burgess standing with USD 418's school board president Jeff Johnson.