LODI – Students from over a dozen different high schools all over Ohio will be arriving on Saturday morning at Cloverleaf High School to compete against their peers not as athletes, but as creatives.
During the competition organized by Toledo-based nonprofit JustWrite, students are given a genre specific prompt. These genres may include: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Classic Horror/Gothic, Fantasy, and Narrative Nonfiction. They have 45 minutes per round, competing in a total of three rounds.
Judges – generally teacher/coaches from competing schools – are assigned groups of writers (never their own students), whose work they read and rank according to a rubric designed to fit the specific genre.
In addition to this, competing writers are asked to bring one poem-based on a pre-determined prompt with them to competition. These poems will be read by special laureates and three poems at each division will be chosen for the Laureate's Choice Award.
Guest Poet Laureates for this event include several area professional writers, including researcher and writer Joanna Wilson, who specializes in Christmas TV entertainment; Medina Educational Service Center Gifted Intervention Specialist Becky Schlegel; and Downtown Akron Partnership Communications Director Dominic Caruso, who runs a small press company and an even smaller literary magazine, this is up.
After the students write for three rounds, they eat lunch and then be entertained by local musicians The Permanents, whose performance at 1:30pm is free and open to the public.
There are two divisions competing: one for 9th and 10th graders and another for 11th and 12th graders. The top 15 writers in each division will be recognized.
In addition to this, teams will be awarded points for overall team points. First, second, and third place division trophies will be given to schools. There will also be one school named the tournament champion— this is a combined total of all points, from both divisions.
“As exciting as it is to cheer on our athletic stars, I’m happy to provide more opportunities for other students to shine,” says tournament host Brittany Charek, who has taught English at Cloverleaf High School for five years.
Cloverleaf is one of the few schools of their size to offer an array of creative electives such as Theatre, Creative Writing, Journalism, Songwriting, Guitar, Ceramics, Digital Design and AP and CCP art courses.
“We really take pride in our ‘Nerd Herd’ here at Cloverleaf as well as our Arts programs,” continues Charek. “I would love to see this become a Cloverleaf tradition!”
After this regional tournament, top scoring students will compete in a state-wide competition in the Spring.