Senior wins writing award

 Aubrey Caruso/Feature Editor

Senior Rachel Connelly would agree that her love for communication has brought her many new opportunities, including being one of just four Iowa students to recently receive the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) award.

She was one of 30 students nominated by CFHS English teachers to represent the high school in the national competition.

The students submitted their best works, comprised of up to 10 pages of what they chose. Then they all wrote impromptu essays on one of two choices: writing about whether the United States is declining on the world stage or choosing a piece of clothing to help them assume a different personality and tell a story from that point of view. All students had two hours to write about the topic they chose.

After this, three CFHS students were chosen to take part in the national competition: Connelly, Alex Entz and Bailey Pons. These students then submitted more of their work and wrote another impromptu essay at the national competition.

“Writing is an outlet for emotions. It’s great because I know if I’m having a bad day, I have a good way to express myself. I don’t have to share everything I write with anyone. It can be something that is just for myself, but I also can share it, if I want to,” Connelly said.
The writers that are chosen for this award have a specific style that sets them apart from the rest.

“I really think that each writer is unique in his/her own way. Each person has different experiences that shape his/her writing and makes it unique. My life experiences, my beliefs and my personality is what makes my writing uniquely mine. That doesn’t mean that any one writer is better than another because there is no standard to compare them to—they’re all good,” Connelly said.

Awards like this help these students to receive scholarships, when added to their list of accomplishments and activities. Each student has to begin somewhere like Connelly has; it is not a task that is learned overnight.

Connelly said, “I think that anyone who wants to write or improve writing needs to do two things: read and practice writing. Reading gives you new ideas and shows you ways that others write; practicing makes perfect. The more you write, the better you get. Have others read and give you feedback about your writing. They can give you ideas and tell you what you’re not doing too well. And take creative writing, the class at CFHS. It was a great class and taught me a lot. It forced me to write and find time in my busy schedule to write.”

This award opens even more doors for students in the long run.

“When I write something, I become so involved in that I can’t be objective about it, so I find it hard to tell if what I’m writing is good or not. This award has let me know that others do like my writing. I’ve always loved to write. The last few years, it’s been one of my dreams to publish a novel, and now I know that this is plausible,” Connelly said.

Class of 2014

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