By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Sherwood Middle School (SMS) sixth-grader Shreeya Ravi recently won third place for a story that she submitted to the Story Writing Bee conducted by Bighelp Boston Area Regional Contest (BARC) 2015. Her winning piece, “A Crackpot Genius!” is about a clumsy girl who loves science and becomes an inventor.
Shreeya’s interest in writing was sparked during her fifth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) studies and was cultivated by SMS Reading Specialist Pam Catino and her supportive parents.
It was the through Shrewsbury Middle School Core Values ELA Challenge, which engages students’ creative writing skills, that Shreeya caught the writing bug. Participation in the ELA Challenge is unlimited, giving students and staff an ongoing opportunity to express their understanding of character education through poetry, essay and narrative writing.
“At Sherwood Middle School, each month’s school-wide activities and community meetings are devoted to one of our 10 core values: gratitude, respect, responsibility, honesty, perseverance, courage, caring, tolerance, cooperation and generosity,” Catino explained. “Students share their creative writing at all-school meetings, which are broadcasted to the town of Shrewsbury through our local cable access channel. The ELA Core Values Challenge is an integral thread woven into our middle school character education program.”
Shreeya won an ELA contest in October 2014 as a fifth-grader with her written piece on honesty, inspiring her to keep writing. With the help and encouragement of her parents, she submitted a story to the Bighelp’s Story Writing Bee in December. The awards were announced in January and Shreeya was the third place winner.
“Thanks to SMS ELA opportunities, Shreeya was motivated to write because of such experiences,” her mother Abirami Ramalingam wrote in an email to her teacher.
According to the Bighelp for Education website, its mission is to “provide basic and formal education and better quality schooling to the underprivileged children in India regardless of gender, class, race, religion and disability to lead them and step in the march toward change and self-reliance.”
Bighelp carries out its mission by providing the following opportunities for their donors: sponsoring a student, “adopting” a school or establishing merit awards to encourage a competitive spirit among students through regional academic contests.
Locally, Bighelp invites children in grades K-12 to participate in its regional competitions. Contest categories include art, science, math and the Story Writing Bee.
“I am so happy to hear about Shreeya’s placement in the writing contest!” Catino said. “This is a wonderful achievement. I am so glad she has had the opportunity to practice her writing skills in our ELA Writing Challenge contests and I hope she continues the great work.”
For more information about Bighelp for Education, visit www.bighelp.org.