Four CHS Students Named Finalists in Maryland LAL Contest
Contest challenges students to write about books that influenced their self-image or worldview
March 22, 2017
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“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin, author
Because they wrote so meaningfully and creatively about what they have gained from reading, four CHS freshman have been named state finalists in the 2017 Maryland Letters About Literature contest.
Coordinated by the Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities, the statewide contest is part of a national contest sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book. The contest, for students in grades 4–12, challenges each young person to write to the author of a book, poem, or play that influenced his or her self-image or worldview. Nationally, more than 36,000 letters were submitted to this year’s contest, including 1,877 entries from Maryland students.
The state finalists (and the works that inspired them) are:
Catonsville High School
- Erin Horter – Drama, a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier
- Sylvia Johnson – All Creatures Great and Small, a short story collection by James Herriot
- Ellie Schumacher – Bronx Masquerade, a novel by Nikki Grimes
- Don’ya Truesdale – “Her Blooming Heart,” a poem by Saiom Shriver
Two other BCPS students also were finalists in the contest. They were:
Dulaney High School
- Mikayla Mellis – The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, a memoir by Naoki Higashida
Parkville High School
- Jewel Hammet – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, a nonfiction book by Wes Moore
All Letters About Literature Maryland state finalists will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Saturday, April 22, at 11 a.m. at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Auditorium at Mercy High School in Baltimore City.
For each level of the competition, one winner and one runner-up will be chosen at the state level. The competition levels are Level 1: Grades 4 – 6, Level 2: Grades 7 – 8, and Level 3: Grades 9 – 12. State winners will be notified in early April and will advance to the final national round of competition. The state winners will be asked to read their letters during the April 22 awards ceremony.
Last year’s Level 3 state winner was Lauralee An of Catonsville High School. (Her award-winning letter can be found here.)