Young writers recognized in Pine Plains’ 10th annual Friends of Library competition

From left, Vincente Mercado, Ren Babcock, Leandra Costa, Coraline Dell’Amore, Jenna Martin and Elliot Campbell were each awarded $100 as first place winners in the 10th annual Friends of the Pine Plains Free Library Young Writers competition.

Pine Plains Central School District

Young writers recognized in Pine Plains’ 10th annual Friends of Library competition

PINE PLAINS — Young writers have a step up in the world of communication thanks to the Pine Plains Friends of the Library, which recently announced winners of the 10th annual writing competition.

The group has distributed some $10,000 in prize money over the years and provides an important opportunity to have students’ writing acknowledged.

Friends’ board member and coordinator of the contest Victoria LoBrutto, says that the much of the credit goes to the teachers who encourage students in the sixth through 12th grades to enter.

In many cases, they provide a helpful push by assigning the competition as homework. Topics range from those assigned to those chosen by the young writers themselves.

LoBrutto, who contributes garden articles to the New Pine Plains Herald, judges the competition, this year reading all 75 of the entries. She says she “keeps in mind” the New York State writing standards, but is mainly focused on the creativity and imagination of the writers which, she notes “cannot be taught.”

Having watched the progress in students’ writing over the years, she says, “I’m pleasantly surprised. From sixth grade to eighth grade some of the writing is pretty sophisticated. And then when they get to high school, you can see there is a real development.”

LoBrutto is even hopeful that she will someday see the name of one of the competitors she has followed annually on a book.

Besides giving credit to the teachers, LoBrutto cites the Pine Plains Free Library’s teen writing program, which, according to Head Librarian Dee Ann Johnson, is run weekly each Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with both virtual and in-person sessions.

Johnson, in the same spirit, lauds the Friends saying, “They are indispensable. They work so hard on our behalf, and we are grateful for all they do for us and for all the programs they run.

In addition to cash awards, winners of the writing program are acknowledged in the graduation program and each participant receives a certificate provided by Moore and More printing of Millerton which is known far and wide for its generous support of many local not-for-profits.

The winners of each category in this year’s competition receive prizes of $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third with a number of others receiving recognition through honorable mention.

Top winners in order of their placement are: Grade 6 - Group 1 - fiction - Coraline Dell’Amore, Juliet Shiels, and William Galliher; Grade 6 - Group 2 - fiction - Jenna Martin, Amelia Anderson, and Christopher Spada; Grade 6 - Group 3 - fiction - Elliot Campbell, Madison Johnson, and Margaret Johnson; Grade 8 - poetry - Vincente Mercado; Grades 9 - 12 academic non-fiction - Leandra Costa, Joshua Dolansky, and Charlotte Phillips; Grades 9- 12 - creative non-fiction - Leandra Costa, Joshua Dolansky, and Estrella Ruano; Grade 9- fiction - Ren Babcock, Brianna Blackburn, Kaylei Murphy; and Grade 9 - 12 - poetry - Ren Babcock, Emma Henderson, and Kaylei Murphy.

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