Russell Elementary School may have the next Harper Lee and Flannery O'Connor on their hands.
Maya Swanson of Denise Gazdak's second grade class and Winnie Wolf of Tanya Swanson's kindergarten class both won first place out of 330 entries in the PBS Kids Go! writing contest sponsored by WQLN-TV 54.
Wolf said she likes writing and her first place story "I Love Cheetahs" was fun to write.
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
Russell Elementary School kindergartner Winnie Wolf, left, and second grader Maya Swanson were both awarded first place in the PBS Kids Go! writing contest sponsored by WQLN-TV 54.
"Winnie is very creative and she loves to write and draw," Swanson said. "She's always excited to write and illustrate in our classroom journals. I'm very proud of her."
Swanson wrote about making "seaweed soup" and looking for shells at the beach with her friend in her first place story "Beach Girls".
Gazdak said Maya is an "excellent student" to have in her classroom.
She likes writing and Judy B. Jones and Boxcar Children are some of her favorite books.
A reception was held in Erie at the WQLN station Wednesday night where students read their stories to family members and teachers, WQLN Education Manager Kathy Carducci said.
"With so many negative commentaries about the state of our education systems and how kids are failing, this is a bright spot," she said. "Kids love to read, love to write and so we embrace that."
Publisher at Skeezel Press Patricia Merski talked to the students about how a story is actually published and what a publisher does.
All of the first place stories will be available online and will be aired on TV with narration between June and August
First place winners will go to the national contest at WNED in Buffalo, NY for the first round of judging before heading to PBS for finals.
The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a national-local contest designed to promote the advancement of children's reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The Contest encourages children in grades K-3 in communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original pieces.