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Student wins accolades from scholastic writing competition

By APRIL HELMS Reporter Published: March 28, 2017 2:30 PM
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TWINSBURG -- Makiyah Harris, an eighth-grader at R.B. Chamberlin Middle School, recently earned a National Gold Medal and Best-in-Grade Award for her science fiction/fantasy story, "The Llovenia Effect."

Makiyah was told the news after she accepted a Regional Gold Key in Iowa March 11 for the same work. She will travel to New York City to accept the two national honors at Carnegie Hall June 8.

"People from all over the country have submitted hundreds of thousands of pieces to the awards, and to be chosen as one of the best means a great deal to me," Makiyah said. "It definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment."

R.B.C. Principal Jim Ries said the entire Tiger community is extremely proud of Makiyah's accomplishments.

"She exhibits strong leadership skills in the classroom and is an invaluable asset to the Twinsburg City School District," Ries said.

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More than 330,000 students in seventh through 12th grade from across the nation entered the contest, with less than 1 percent recognized at the national level, according to information from the Twinsburg schools.

Power of the Pen adviser Erin Bennett said Makiyah is an "exceptionally talented" writer.

"I'm always amazed when I read her writing," Bennett said. "Between her word choice, structure and development she makes writing seem so easy ... the words seem to flow from her pen as if it is directly tapped into her mind, heart and soul."

Makiyah's "The Llovenia Effect" follows a woman named Leya, who finds herself completely lost, a stranger in a strange land. What's more, she cannot remember where she came from, or when she left. When she begins to get wisps of her memory back, with the help of her reluctant counselor, Leya quickly realizes that the question she should be asking is not where or when, but why?

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the nation's longest running scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens.

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Students are invited to submit creative and original works in any of the awards' 29 art and writing categories, including architecture, painting, flash fiction, poetry, printmaking and video game design. All works are evaluated through blind judging, first on a regional level by more than 100 local affiliates and then nationally by a panel of creative-industry experts.

Winning works are chosen by a panel of national jurors.

According to the website, "In addition to being considered for awards within their respective categories, two writers and two artists per grade seven through 12 are chosen each year as the Best-in-Grade."

Makiyah, her family and eighth-grade honors language arts teacher Melissa Walters were all invited to the Carnegie Hall ceremony.

Walters said Makiyah is a "remarkable student."

"Makiyah [has] quite a bright future in writing," Walters said. "Her prose is often filled with thoughtful insight that clearly conveys her message to her readers. Her diction and awareness in her fiction, informative and argumentative writing is advanced well beyond her years. I am excited to see what her future holds."

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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