Jeffco’s young readers, writers honored at annual ceremony

More than 1,600 students participated in this year’s contests

Posted 5/7/19

Todd Fahnestock writes because it makes magic. “And because it makes lives and because it saves lives,” he said. “Writers … created heroes to look up to when my real-life heroes had failed …

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Jeffco’s young readers, writers honored at annual ceremony

More than 1,600 students participated in this year’s contests

Posted

Todd Fahnestock writes because it makes magic.

“And because it makes lives and because it saves lives,” he said. “Writers … created heroes to look up to when my real-life heroes had failed me.”

Fahnestock of Englewood is the author of “The Wishing World” and other fantasy series of fantasy novels. He was the guest speaker for the Education Nonprofit Corporation’s (ENC) awards ceremony for the sixth annual Jeffco Writing Challenge and third annual I Love to Read Contest on May 3.

This year, kindergarten through eighth graders wrote about their ideas for inventions, combining STEM and literary skills; and high schoolers wrote about the concept of crossing borders — social, economic, political, geographical, philosophical or metaphysical.

More than 1,600 students participated this year and nearly 100 of them earned an award for their efforts — $100 for first place, and Tattered Cover gift cards for second and third place winners and honorable mentions. Entries are judged by a panel of elementary to post-secondary educators.

Jocelyn DesLauriers, a ninth grader at Dakota Ridge High School in south Jefferson County who won an honorable mention in the writing challenge, enjoys writing because enjoys creating characters, the world they live in and the happenings in their lives.

“It’s fun to escape the real world,” she said, “and go to a fantasy world of your choice.”

Schools also get recognition for its students participating in the contests, judged by highest percentage of participation based on enrollment. For the writing challenge, Oberon Middle School in Arvada had the most entries, followed by Red Rocks Elementary School in Morrison then Bell Middle School in Golden. Woodrow Wilson Academy in Westminster earned an honorable mention. For the reading contest, Green Gables Elementary School in Lakewood came in first; Kyffin Elementary School, second; Woodrow Wilson Academy got third place; and Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood received an honorable mention.

ENC, which is a Golden-based nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of education. The organization was founded in 2008 and has donated over $247,000 to local schools since 2009.

After relating his struggles to overcome his parents’ divorce as a child, and his decision to become a writer at age 14, Fahnestock told the awards ceremony attendees on May 3 to “keep writing.”

“I fell into those stories,” he said. “And it made me who I am today.”

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