University hosts fourth annual high school writing contest

John C. Knox writing event welcomes students from 15 different high schools

Waynesburg University recently hosted its fourth annual John C. Knox Writing Contest for high school students. The event, sponsored by the Observer Publishing Company, was for students from local high schools to test out their writing skills against one another.

The young writers from fifteen different schools in the area, including Waynesburg Central, were given the chance to listen to Waynesburg University alumni Jim Shearer speak at the event.

After his speech, the students were encouraged to participate in a Q&A session for them to get more information they felt was necessary to know about Shearer. The Q&A session lasted until the writers were out of questions for Shearer.

Following the Q&A session, the students were challenged to write an article on Shearer’s speech and could include Shearer’s responses to the questions they asked him.

In charge of the event was Richard Krause, chairperson of the Department of Communication. Krause commented on Shearer’s effort during the event.

“He was very engaging,” Krause said of Shearer. “He gave the students a wonderful interview. We are very proud of him and his accomplishments after Waynesburg.”

Many students seemed to enjoy interviewing Shearer. Shearer graciously attended the event Saturday, which lasted from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Krause said the event went very well, and it seemed to be a big hit for competitors and those who helped with the contest.

“We were very pleased with the results,” said Krause.

The winners of the event will be announced within the next ten days with the top three finishers receiving cash prizes. The values ranged from $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for the third place.

The students had exactly one hour to write their articles after the Q&A session with Shearer. When the clock struck zero, three judges were set to read the articles and rank them based on a rubric.

No restrictions were put on the length of the articles, but the students were in charge of all aspects of their own article – from asking their own questions, figuring out the length of the article and making edits to the article as needed. While there were no length requirements, if the length of the article would be considered during the grading process.

The contest was a test of the students’ all-around writing skills and their ability to critique their own work. The judges were one faculty member within the Department of Communication, one student officer in Waynesburg University’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter and one professional journalist from a newspaper in the local region.

After the competition, lunch was provided for the writers and all those who helped with the event. Krause said that the event was “very well run” and, with the help and planning of Sarah Bell of Academic Communications and junior Olivia Kelley, “it was very successful.”