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Orleans/Niagara Teachers Center Honors Young Writers at Literacy Awards

Every year the Orleans-Niagara Teacher Center, a NYS grant funded program specializing in high quality professional learning, sponsors a literacy contest for students. In 2022, the contest was reinvented to align with the changing landscape of the educational community. Students in grades K-12 were asked to submit entries in a variety of electronic formats instead of just written essays. Orleans/Niagara  Teacher Center Director Cheryl Herman says, “The formats we received included Google Slideshows, videos with written narration, electronic books, digital comic strips and many others. The students were encouraged to be creative and that they were! The theme was “I Can Make a Difference”.  Students were asked to write about how they, or someone they know or read about, has or can make a difference in our world. Their stories talked about kindness, compassion, cultural acceptance, community involvement and other societal issues that our Board felt are extremely important in this day and age.”


This year’s event included entries from 110 students from nine school districts. An awards ceremony was held on May 4 at the NT Fine Arts Facility. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, a talented local author, read poems from her books to kick off the event. Then students were called up on stage to read their entries and receive certificates and prizes, including writing journals and design books. “There were over 200 students and families in attendance and everyone had a wonderful evening celebrating our children,” says Mrs. Herman.   


Mrs. Herman, and the Teacher Center Policy Board would like to thank all those that participated in this year’s amazing event.  “The students demonstrated high levels of literacy skills, creativity and compassion for their communities.”


For a complete list of all winners and to view their entries, please visit the Orleans-Niagara Teacher Center website at Top winners for each grade level are as follows:

Kindergarten: Gavin Farley (Newfane) and Madison Pennell (Niagara Wheatfield), 1st Grade: Paisley Kubit (Holy Ghost Lutheran), 2nd Grade: Madison Siuta (North Tonawanda) and Eli Solotes (Niagara Wheatfield), 3rd Grade: Kayden Lester (Niagara Wheatfield), 4th Grade: Makayla Klumpp (Newfane) and Rowen Whitehead (Lewiston-Porter), 5th Grade: Olivia Chunco (Newfane), Delaney Johnson (Barker) and Abigail Ramnarine (North Tonawanda), 6th Grade: Elise Monaco (Barker), 9th Grade: Jasmine Molina-Gonzalez (Royalton-Hartland) and 11th-12th grade: Jillian Ash (Royalton-Hartland).

Group of students in risers with medalsWoman holding books