Three students representing Batesville High School recently won high honors in this year’s WordWright Challenge (www.wordwrightchallenge.com), a competition for American high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.
In the year’s fourth meet in April, freshmen Emma Stevens and Kent Wilson both placed among the 132
highest-scoring ninth-graders in the entire country, while junior Zach Brower was one of the 78 highest-scoring 11th-graders nationwide. The school’s participation was overseen by English teacher Rose Lacey.
Medals and certificates will be awarded to high achievers. More than 58,000 students from 46 states (and three foreign nations) entered the meets.
The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. The texts students must analyze for the Allendale, N.J.-based challenge can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Updike to poetry as old as Shakespeare’s or as recent as Margaret Atwood’s, and to essays as classic as E.B. White’s or as current as a Time magazine essay by James Poniewozik. Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone and length, they have one thing in common: style. All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning not always apparent to students on a first or casual reading.