First place winners in Wells-Ogunquit CSD writing contest listed

Post date: May 14, 2021 10:18:57 AM

The 35th Annual Literary Achievement Awards writing contest in the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District continued on into 2021 despite limitations placed on it from an ongoing pandemic. In February, 245 kindergarten through 12th-grade students were able to write and submit their writing to the contest electronically. Following a socially distanced judging process, 58 of the students placed in the contest and their names were announced in late April.

This year, the top prize of $500 went to Wells High School senior Natalie Hanagan who came in first in the 12th -grade category with her entry titled, “Death of a Cat: A Small Account of Departure and Acceptance”.

Other first-place winners included Kellan Burnell (kindergarten), Bradley Martin (Gr. 1), Maya Roche

(Gr. 2), Alex Vaillancourt (Gr. 3), Diane Marquis (Gr. 4), Deanna Ferris (Gr. 5), Saoirse Carrigan (Gr. 6),

Ainslie Donovan (Gr. 7), Pieper Shead (Gr.8), Sam Coleman (Gr.9), Willa Ferris (Gr.10), and Andrew Mott (Gr.11). Please note that all 58 names of the winners in this contest can be viewed online by visiting: .

As with 2020, this year presented unique challenges for contest organizers. Judges could not meet in person to read and deliberate over entries. And, for the second year, the popular April stage ceremony capping off the event with students reading from their work, the awarding of prizes, a group photo, and a cablecast of the event was not possible. Instead, monetary prizes and gift certificates were mailed to kindergarten through fourth-grade students. Grades 5 through 12 students received their awards in school.

Following the retirement of long-time Literary Achievement co-chair Maryanne Foley, Wells Elementary School 4th -grade teachers Pamela Lear and Alison Clark joined Reg Bennett as contest co-chairs. Due to the challenges, including social distancing, Lear and Clark, with technical assistance from the District’s Director of Technology Michael Richards, implemented an innovative plan to go fully digital thereby eliminating face-to-face meetings and the handling of paper by students, teachers, and judges by steering the contest to a fully online procedure.

Volunteer judges in the two-level judging process consisted of Wells-Ogunquit CSD teachers (many of whom are local community members) and other area community members. They read and scored the anonymous entries found in a digital folder downloaded from a centralized email account set up by Richards. The deliberations among judges were conducted online or by phone.

"We thought going digital was a logical move in this digital age,” commented Alison Clark who indicated the change required “a ton of hours” “It also was an asset due to Covid restrictions. We were so happy that the transition went smoothly. It was a lot of fun updating this contest together."

“Although we had speed bumps along the way it actually went pretty well,” said Pamela Lear. "Every year the entries just amaze us. We have such talented students in the District and we are so happy to be able to provide a celebration of it!"

WHS senior Natalie Hanagan. She placed first in the 12th-grade category in the 35th Annual

Literary Achievement Awards.

New co-chairs for the WOCSD Literary Achievement Awards (left to right) Alison Clark and Pamela Lear.