At the beginning of the year, over 7,500 students competed in the Ohio Interscholastic Writing League’s Power of the Pen competition, all of them dreaming of walking across the stage to receive a coveted individual award at the State Finals at the College of Wooster.
For MVS eighth grader Eleanor Peters, the dream came true.
Both Peters and 7th grader Lisa Bales qualified for the state tournament, which represents the top 4% of the full Power of the Pen field. After three rounds of writing (35 minutes to craft a full narrative based on a surprise prompt), Peters heard her name called as a super-finalist, meaning she would join the top 54 contestants in her grade for one last story.
“My goal was to make the Power Round, because I got there last year and I just wanted to write as long as I could,” said Peters.
“Eleanor is her own toughest critic, and she’s always thinking about what she could have done better,” said writing coach Tyler Benedict ’09. “When she came out of her fourth round and told me that she’d written her favorite story of the day, I knew she had a good chance at an award, because if she can impress herself she can impress anybody.”
During the standing-room-only closing ceremony in Wooster’s McGaw Chapel, Peters was named the sixth-place writer for the eighth grade, one of only fifteen students in her division to collect an individual award. Her new plaque will join last year’s state award for fifteenth place in the seventh grade division.
“It’s hard enough to get to the state tournament twice. To be a two-time state award winner, that’s just special,” said Benedict. “That kind of success doesn’t come without a lot of talent, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck along the way.”
Peters intends to continue writing in upper school through MVS’s creative writing electives and by seeking out her own opportunities. For now, though, she is looking forward to a well-deserved summer vacation.