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Local Competition Fosters Reading, Writing and Creativity

June 7, 2011

George Hazimanolis


Local Competition Fosters Reading, Writing and Creativity

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania –
WQED has selected 25 students as winners of the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest with support from EQT Corporation.

The winners were chosen from over 600 local entrants by a panel of judges that included WQED education, development, marketing, and sales staff members and interns; EQT employees; and Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh representatives. The contest encourages children grades K-3 to celebrate the power of writing and illustrating by submitting their own original storybooks.

Each child who entered the Contest will receive a Certificate of Achievement. First-place winners will receive a Nook™ THE SIMPLE TOUCH READER™ and all winners will receive literacy prize packages courtesy of WQED and EQT Corporation. In addition to the first-, second-, and third-place winners, several other students were recognized with honorable mentions in new categories for:

• Best Illustration
• Best Message
• Best Local Connection
• Best Rhyme
• Most Original
• Most Heartfelt
• Chris Fennimore Award

This year’s winners created stories featuring magical animals, superheroes, ordinary kids doing extraordinary things, and many more creative topics:

First Place: The Runaway Bunny by Sarah White of Gibsonia, PA
Second Place: Super Hero Alien Bug Family by Sadie Wilkinson of Pittsburgh, PA
Third Place: Lion’s Magic by Andrew Dordal of Pittsburgh, PA

Honorable Mentions:
Best Message: Ronald and Guy Saved Japan by Elizabeth Mason of Alliance, OH and The Silliest Mouse by Rachel Scierka of Pittsburgh, PA
Best Illustration: Elephant by Rebecca Walter of Carnegie, PA
Best Local Connection: The Football Field by Capone Jones of Duquesne, PA (Duquesne City School)

First Place: Magically Mixing Animals by Emily Zomp of Crescent, PA, PA (Bon Meade Elementary School)
Second Place: Froggy Discovers a New Planet by Gabrielle Corcoran of Pittsburgh, PA
Third Place: Not So Strange After All by Owen Kagle of Bridgeville, PA

Honorable Mentions:
Best Illustration: Riptor the Dragon by Charles Frecka of Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Best Message: Daniel’s Curly Tail by Kelli Mutmansky of Jefferson Hills, PA (Jefferson Elementary)
Best Local Connection: The Awesome Score by Carson Dominick of Moon Township, PA
Most Original: My Fingers Feel by Nevaeh Rae Wessel of Turtle Creek, PA

First Place: Toothfairy and Strawfairy by Uku Hughes of Newark, OH
Second Place: The Adventures of Tail Girl by Annie Duda of Latrobe, PA
Third Place: The 4 Seasons, by Johnny Stepko by Angeline Chalifoux of Wexford, PA (Marshall Elementary)

Honorable Mentions:
Best Illustration: The Nose Knows by Brandon Skalniak of Pittsburgh, PA
Best Message: Bob: The Ordinary Superhero by Trey Natili of Venetia, PA (Bower Hill Elementary)
Best Local Connection: The Pittsburgh Penguins by Austin Marshalek of Scenery Hills, PA (Bentworth Elementary)
Most Original: Y Am I Different by Giavonni LoBello of Canonsburg, PA
Most Heartfelt: My Very Special Friend Lexa by Jaelyn R. Bachetti of Finleyville, PA; The Magic of Love by Amanda O’Connell of Venetia, PA, Bower Hill Elementary and A Bad Day by Cosette Curtis of Salisbury, PA
Chris Fennimore Award: The Surprise Meatballs by Sean A. Sopko of Orwigsburg, PA

First Place: Ally the Alligator and the Best Picnic Ever! by Mia Centuori of Rocky River, OH (Kensington Intermediate School)
Second Place: The Little Bird with Big Dreams by Samuel Kagle of Bridgeville, PA
Third Place: Down the River by Susan Meland of Pittsburgh, PA

Honorable Mentions:
Best Message: Super Courageous K’aijha by K’aijha Gomez of Pittsburgh, PA
Best Rhyme: The Seasons by Thomas Tsai of Pittsburgh, PA (Fairview Elementary School)
Best Illustration: Small Ears, Big Hope by Rye Charlson of Pittsburgh, PA (O’Hara Elementary School)
Most Heartfelt: Lauren Becomes a Big Sister by Lauren Coyle of Butler, PA
Most Original: Quigley, P.I.: The Mystery of the Missing Mice by Julia Marn of Pittsburgh, PA

New in 2011, WQED offered an incentive to the school that submitted the most entries. Borland Manor Elementary School from the Canon McMillan School District located in Canonsburg, PA, submitted stories from 61 students, the most entries of any local school, and will receive a literacy prize package with educational and fun resources from PBS KIDS GO! shows like Martha Speaks, WordWorld, The Electric Company, and Word Girl.

The winners along with all entrants and their families are invited to be honored during the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 11th annual Summer Reading Extravaganza! in Oakland on Sunday, June 12 from noon to 5:00 pm. Writers Contest participants and winners will be recognized by grade and presented with their prizes during a ceremony which will be held in the in the Carnegie Library’s Lecture Hall. Hosting the event will be WQED’s storyteller the Queen of Hearts, who will share stories and fun.

Times for the award ceremonies are:
• 12:30 to 12:50 – Kindergarten
• 1:40 to 2:00 – First Grade
• 2:40 to 3:00 – Second Grade
• 3:40 to 4:00 – Third Grade

Children will be able to pick up their stories and certificates of completion throughout the day at WQED's activity tent, which will also feature fun hands-on activities featuring PBS KIDS characters. WQED will also offer a special workshop in the Performance Tent at 4:30 pm with Joe Wos from the Toonseum, who will illustrate how easy it is to draw and tell unique stories. Stories and certificates of completion that are not picked up at the Library Extravaganza will be available for pick up at WQED’s Oakland offices (4802 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) on weekdays between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, from June 15 through July 1. Stories that are not retrieved by Friday, July 1 will be discarded.

Produced by WNED-TV, Buffalo/Toronto and PBS, the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a part of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a national initiative that uses the power of public media to build the reading skills of children ages 2 to 8, with an emphasis on children from low-income families. The effort is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership.

, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. With positive role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, family and educator resources - including PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! television series, PBSKIDS.org , PBSKIDSGO.org , PBS Parents (PBSPARENTS.org), PBS Teachers (PBSTEACHERS.org). PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s nearly 360 public television stations, serving more than 124 million people on-air and online each month. For more information on specific shows supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom.

About WQED
WQED Pittsburgh
, honored with the 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Station Excellence, was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. The people of WQED create, produce and distribute quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within their community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.

About EQT
EQT Corporation
is one of the largest natural gas producers in the Appalachian Basin. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA and operating in four states – Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – the company is committed to meeting the country’s growing demand for clean energy, promoting safety, providing a rewarding workplace, and using its resources to enrich the communities where its 1,800 employees live and work. To learn more about EQT, visit www.eqt.com

About CPB
, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.

The contents of this release were developed under a grant, #PRU295A050003 and #PRU295B050003, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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WQED Pittsburgh
4802 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Key Contacts

George Hazimanolis
Senior Director of
Corporate Communications


Maria Pisano
Marketing Associate


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