Scottsdale students among those earning honors in state writing contest

Winners of this year's Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest were recognized during the Feb. 14 Statehood Day Ceremony in the Historic Senate Chambers at the Capitol.

Winners of this year’s Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest were recognized during the Feb. 14 Statehood Day Ceremony in the Historic Senate Chambers at the Capitol.

The Arizona Educational Foundation recognized nine winners of the 2015 Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest for their excellent writing during Arizona’s 103rd Statehood Day Celebration at the State Capitol on Feb. 14.

The winners — two of whom are from Scottsdale — were selected from a pool of more than 150 who submitted creative writing samples to the annual Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest.

Students from across the state submitted entries exploring this year’s topic, “Write a Creative Piece Convincing Non-Voters to Vote.” The two most common themes of the entries this year were about how one vote can make a difference and the importance of civic responsibility.

The winners are:

7th and 8th Grade Category:

1st Place:  Aarjav Pandya, Payne Junior High School, Queen Creek

2nd Place: Ryan Bernardino, Vista Verde Middle School, Phoenix

3rd Place: Gabriella Garcia, Cambridge Academy – Marley Park Elementary School, Surprise

Honorable Mention: Udochukwu Nwosu, Payne Junior High School, Queen Creek

9th and 10th Grade Category:

1st Place: Jessica Myers, Chaparral High School, Scottsdale

2nd Place: Tillena Trebon, Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff

3rd Place: Hope Yi, Hamilton High School, Chandler

Honorable Mention: Ari Cohen, Chaparral High School, Scottsdale

Honorable Mention: Sophie Phaturos, Holbrook High School, Holbrook

11th and 12th Grade Category:

1st Place: Elliot Smith, Hamilton High School, Chandler

2nd Place: Tye Housley, Benson High School, Benson

3rd Place: Emilee Henriquez, Red Mountain High School, Mesa

Honorable Mention: Bree Rath, Gilbert Classical Academy, Gilbert

The students were recognized by Secretary of State Michele Reagan, Director and Deputy Director of Library and Archives Joan Clark and Ted Hale respectively, and AEF’s 2015 Arizona Teacher of the Year John-David Bowman during the Feb. 14 Statehood Day Ceremony in the Historic Senate Chambers at the Capitol.

Entries were judged by Arizona educators and business leaders. Open to students grade seven through 12, winners and honorees were selected for three age categories: 7th/8th grade, 9th/10th grade and 11th/12th grade.

“We are proud to support this annual contest again this year,” said Bobbie O’Boyle, executive director of the Arizona Educational Foundation.

“This is one of our most cherished events and it’s important to us to continue Mrs. Rosenbaum’s legacy and encourage students to practice their creative writing skills. We’re thrilled with all the submissions we received and are impressed with the time these students took to reflect and express themselves creatively about such an important civic issue.”

First place winners were awarded a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, second place winners received a $25 gift certificate and third place winners received a $15 gift certificate.

The Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest is named for Polly Rosenbaum, a former school teacher and Arizona State Representative who passed away in 2003 at the age of 104. The writing contest is a long-standing tradition honoring Rosenbaum, who believed Arizona’s young people are the state’s greatest resource.

The Arizona Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters excellence in education by administering statewide programs that enhance the capabilities of Arizona’s schools.  It endeavors to strengthen the teaching profession, design high quality curricula, stimulate student achievement and celebrate the successes in K-12 public education in Arizona.

Since 1983, through its Arizona Teacher of the Year Program, A+ School of Excellence Program, Arizona Spelling Bee, Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest and Principals’ Leadership Academy, Take Your Legislator to School and UnitED, AEF identifies, recognizes and awards exceptional schools, leaders, teachers and students.

Visit or call 480-421-9376 for more information.

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