• July 2, 2020

    Sarah earns second place!

    Sarah's book Congratulations to Sarah Sakowitz, a rising second grader at Streams Elementary, who recently placed second in her grade level in the 2020 WQED Writers Contest. The winners were announced during a virtual event on Saturday, June 27. 

    Sarah's story, "The Girl with the Most Beautiful Smile," is available online at www.writeonkids.org.

    The 2020 Winners are:

    First Place: Jenna the Jellyfish by Aubrey Will, Bethel Park
    Second Place: Nice Ninja by Penn Schelling, Peters Township
    Third Place: The Snow Family by Emily Adamson, Washington
    Honorable Mention: The Lego Engineer by Addison Munsch, Indianola 

    First Place: A Square Story by Arden Braun, Uniontown
    Second Place: The Girl with the Most Beautiful Smile by Sarah Sakowitz, Upper St. Clair
    Third Place: Monkeys Save the Day by Kendall Exler, Bethel Park
    Honorable Mention: How Prilla the Fairy Saved the World by Sonika Duggal, Wexford 

    First Place: A Turtle’s Life for Me by Crystal Clydesdale, Venetia
    Second Place: Kate the Kindness Advocate by Aubree Thompson, Venetia
    Third Place: How the Colors Came Back by Sophia Rodriguez, Finleyville
    Honorable Mention: The Monster by Audrey Williamson, Greensboro

    First Place: The Real Spirit of Life by Arjun Kairi, Pittsburgh
    Second Place: I Don’t want to be a Raptor! By Asher Ulmer, Hughesville
    Third Place: Failing Forward by Phoenix Medina, Tarentum
    Honorable Mention: Orson the Ostrich by Angelo Bolcato, New Kensington 

    First Place: Spiders and Snakes Oh My! by Nissi Xavier, Centerville, OH
    Second Place: Cryptomnesia by Rocco Romano, Venetia
    Third Place: The Day in the Life of a Cell by Maggie Jaglowski, Bethel Park
    Honorable mention: Diary of a Quarantined Kid by Kieran Ulmer, Hughesville 

    First Place: Stu Stu …Stutter by Safina Khilji, South Fayette
    Second Place: The Brave little Whale Shark by Kiya Krinjeck, Richfield
    Third Place: The Happy Accident by Hritika Basu, Pittsburgh
    Honorable Mention: Manatee by Rosalia Pavlik, Venetia

    Kindergarten-First Grade: Simple Machines Everywhere! By Joanna Xavier, Centerville, OH
    Second Grade-Third Grade: Rosita’s Roses by Olivia Anderson, Bethel Park
    Fourth Grade-Fifth Grade: The H’eight’ of Success by Ethan Daniel Vaiz, Wexford

    May 19, 2020

    First-grader named writing contest finalist

    Sarah Sakowitz A Streams Elementary first grader is one of 27 finalists in the 2020 WQED Writers Contest. Seven-year-old Sarah Sakowitz’s story, “The Girl with the Most Beautiful Smile,” was selected from among nearly 1,000 entries from throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

    The public is invited to vote for the “Reader’s Choice Winner” from June 12-19. All finalists’ stories will be available to read and listen to via WQED’s Writers Contest page at www.writeonkids.org.

    “The title of my story is, “The Girl with the Most Beautiful Smile.” It will make you laugh very hard,” Sarah said. “Please vote for my story between June 12th - 19th.  I am so excited!”

    A student in Katie Hendrickson’s class at Streams Elementary, Sarah found great humor in a couple of experiences that inspired her latest story. 

    “Just like Susie Strobwary, the main character in the story, I had spaces in my mouth. Since then, my permanent teeth have grown in, but left me with another problem...my front teeth are too big for my face! So one day, I drew a caricature of myself with an exaggerated smile. It made me laugh out loud for a long time,” Sarah said. “I also remembered a funny thing my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Hendrickson, said when I showed her my missing teeth.  She said, ‘Wow, you can fit a car in that space.’ That made me laugh out loud too. That's when I started thinking of other funny jokes about gaps and the story took off from there.”

    Sarah was also a finalist in the 2019 WQED Writers Contest. Her story, “The Dragonfly That Lived,” finished third. In addition to writing, she has earned honors for artwork through the school district’s annual Arts In USC contest – finishing first in her school in 2019-20 and second district-wide in 2018-19.

    “I like writing because I get to draw pictures. Usually, I draw the pictures after writing, but in this story I drew the picture first!” Sarah said. “It also makes me appreciate all the hard work authors do to write the books in the library that I love to read.”

    Sarah says it feels great to be selected as a finalist two years in a row.

    “Last year, I went to a celebration at WQED's Fred Rogers Studio, but this year is different,” Sarah said. “There's going to be a virtual celebration instead and I can't wait to see my story turned into a puppet show again.”

    Winners of the 2020 WQED Writers Contest will be announced at a virtual celebration and awarded prizes including the opportunity to record their winning story. Their recordings will be broadcast on iQKidsRadio.org and featured on Saturday Light Brigade (SLB) Radio in the summer of 2020. K-5 and STEM winners’ stories will be made into an original puppet show which will be shown at the Virtual Celebration by Pittsburgh Puppet Works.

    The 2020 WQED Writers Contest is sponsored by the EQT Foundation. Students in kindergarten through grade five were invited to submit entries from Jan. 4 until March 31, 2020. Entries were judged on creativity and originality of plot and/or themes; story structure and use of literary devices; and relevance, quality and originality of illustration.

    The 2020 Finalists include:

    Addison Munsch, Indianola
    Aubrey Will, Bethel Park
    Emily Adamson, Washington
    Penn Schelling, Peters Township

    Arden Braun, Uniontown
    Joanna Xavier, Centerville, OH
    Kendall Exler, Bethel Park
    Sarah Sakowitz, Upper St. Clair
    Sonika Duggal, Wexford 

    Aubree Thompson, Venetia
    Audrey Williamson, Greensboro
    Crystal Clydesdale, Venetia
    Sophia Rodriguez, Finleyville 

    Angelo Bolcato, New Kensington
    Arjun Kairi, Pittsburgh
    Asher Ulmer, Hughesville
    Olivia Anderson, Bethel Park
    Phoenix Medina, Tarentum 

    Ethan Daniel Vaiz, Wexford
    Kieran Ulmer, Hughesville
    Maggie Jaglowski, Bethel Park
    Nissi Xavier, Centerville, OH
    Rocco Romano, Venetia 

    Hritika Basu, Pittsburgh
    Kiya Krinjeck, Richfield
    Rosalia Pavlik, Venetia
    Safina Khilji, South Fayette