Sandy Creek scores high in national WordMaster Challenge

Tue, 04/11/2006 - 4:25pm
By: The Citizen

Students at Sandy Creek High are among the best analytical readers in the nation, according to results from the WordMasters Challenge competition.

WordMasters Challenge is a national competition for high school students requiring the close reading of many different kinds of prose and poetry.

Sandy Creek’s top performers include sophomore Justin Williams who is ranked among the 221 highest scoring tenth graders in the country, juniors Emily Desprez and Brendan Fludd, both receiving honorable mentions out of 50,000 students nationwide and seniors Kerry Moore, Kellis McAfee and Isaac Payne, each placing among the 304 highest scoring seniors in the country out of 55,000 students.

The premise behind the WordMasters Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. The texts students must analyze for the challenge can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Updike to poetry as old as Shakespeare’s or as recent as Margaret Atwood’s, and to essays as classic as E.B. White’s or as current as a Newsweek Magazine essay by George Will.

Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone and length, they have one thing in common: style. All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning not always apparent to students on a first casual reading. Like the questions on the verbal SAT I, the SAT II in English Literature and the Advanced Placement exams in both English Language and English Literature, the questions posed by the WordMasters Challenge ask students both to recognize the emotional and/or rational logic of a piece of writing and to notice the ways in which a writer’s style shapes and shades her meaning.

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