Pictured (l-r): Cearra O’Hern, Nina Borzekowski, and Mikaya Potvin at the ceremony at State House on May 20.
The Vermont Department of Libraries is pleased to announce the state winners of the 2015-2016 Letters about Literature contest. Hosted by the Library of Congress and now in its 23rd year, this contest challenges students in grades 4-12 to write to an author whose work has significantly moved them. Students first compete against other students in their state, and the winners of the state competition go on to compete against state winners from the rest of the country. This is the first year that Vermont has participated in the contest.
The Department of Libraries facilitated the Vermont contest and received submissions from students all over Vermont. A team of judges from organizations around the state selected winners of three different levels–grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12. These first-place winners were honored alongside other student honorees at a ceremony at the State House on Friday, May 20. Vermont State Librarian Martha Reid and Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe spoke about the importance of the program and the quality of the students’ work.
Killington Elementary School’s Nina Borzekowski, a sixth-grader, placed first in her level with her letter to Leon Leyson. Leyson is the author of a moving account of Nazi concentration camps in World War II titled “The Boy on the Wooden Box.”
Brattleboro Area Middle School’s Cearra O’Hern, a seventh-grader, placed first in her level with her letter to R.J. Palacio, the author of “Wonder,” the best-selling middle-grade novel about bullies and individuality.
Williamstown Middle-High School’s Mikaya Potvin, a junior, placed first in her level with her letter to the author of the dystopian novel “The Young Elites,” Marie Lu.
The winners of the national contest will be announced later this summer, and the 2016-2017 contest will be introduced in the fall.