UCHS senior places in nationwide event
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 6:00 pm
The Messenger 03.18.13
A student representing Union City High School recently won highest honors in this year’s WordWright Challenge — a competition for American high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.
UCHS senior Garrett Ransom earned a perfect score and placed among the 15 highest-scoring 12th-graders in the nation during the year’s third meet last month.
More than 58,000 students from 46 states and four foreign nations entered. The local school’s participation was overseen by Joanna Wisener.
The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. The texts students must analyze for the Challenge can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Updike to poetry as old as Shakespeare’s or as recent as Margaret Atwood’s and to essays as classic as E.B. White’s or as current as a Time magazine essay by James Poniewozik.
Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone and length, they have one thing in common: style. All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning not always apparent to students on a first or casual reading.
Like the questions on the verbal SAT I, the SAT II in English literature and the advanced placement exams in both English language and English literature, the questions posed by the WordWright Challenge ask students both to recognize the emotional and/or rational logic of a piece of writing and to notice the ways in which a writer’s style shapes and shades his meaning.
Because the WordWright Challenge is a classroom activity and not a college entrance exam, however, it can be a learning experience and not just a high hurdle, a spokesman said. After completing a Challenge, classes are encouraged to talk about the texts and the answers to the multiple choice questions and are also given additional topics for open-ended discussion and/or written response.
The texts for the third WordWright meet this year were a poem by Robert Frost for ninth- and 10-graders and a prize-winning essay by Daniel Orozco for 11th- and 12-graders.
The students will participate in one more meet in the coming months, with medals and certificates to be awarded in June to those who have achieved and/or improved the most in the course of the year.
Garrett Ransom, UCHS senior places in nationwide event, Union City High School, WordWright Challenge