Young Writers Day celebrates student creativity and skill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Central West Virginia Writing Project, Marshall University, the EdVenture Group and the University of Charleston hosted approximately 240 student writers at West Virginia Young Writers Day at the University of Charleston. Additionally, West Virginia author and illustrator Ashley Belote addressed the future writers and families as the keynote speaker.

Celebrating its 40th year, Young Writers Day has recognized student writing in the Mountain State as a hallmark of a comprehensive and robust education. Teachers and administrators in each county encourage students to submit entries on any topic and in any prose genre. Winners were recognized at an award ceremony at the event.

“Our students are full of wonder, creativity, and talent that they have thoroughly expressed through writing,” said State Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt. “Young Writers Day supports the vital literacy that are the bedrock of learning. Educators eagerly nurture these foundational skills and expand student achievement. Addtionally, the event gives our students the freedom to explore writing and immerse themselves in the creative process.”

Ashley Belote is the author-illustrator of “Witch & Wombat,” “The Me Tree,” and “Listen Up, Louella.” She also illustrated “Frankenslime” and “Valenslime.” She graduated from Alderson Broaddus University and currently serves as the Illustrator Coordinator for the Carolinas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Participating students also engaged in grade-appropriate writing workshops led by education leaders and award-winning local writers. Several state winners read their submitted pieces, and county winners were recognized for their contributions.

State Winners:

Student Name:Grade Level:Award Level:County:
Baylor Brown1 – 21stGreenbrier
Taylor Brown1 – 22ndPutnam
Payton Bolyard1 – 23rdMarion
Isiah Fitts3 – 41stSummers
Penelope Buzzard3 – 42ndPocahontas
Jaycie Lusk3 – 43rdMonongalia
Chloe Deel5 – 61stMcDowell
Mackenzie Conley5 – 62ndLogan
Bailey Goodwin5 – 6 3rdPocahontas
Brianna Epperly7 – 81stFayette
Malakai Jones7 – 82ndWyoming
Brielle Coburn7 – 83rdMercer
Makayla Orndorf9 – 101stHampshire
Maddix Duckworth9 – 102ndMineral
Brooklyn Ratliff9 – 103rdGilmer
Anna Trent11 – 121stDoddridge
Grace Brantley11 – 12 2ndMonongalia
Sandra Ballenger11 – 123rdFayette

For more information about Young Writers Day, including photos from the event, visit


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