8 Birchwood students from Westlake win writing awards

Westlake Regional Scholastic winners, pictured with teacher Lorraine Tzeng, back row: Sam Hessler, Isabella Issa, Shruthi Ravichandran and Paul Abou Haidar; front row: Nadia Ibrahim, Naya Alsouss and Hadi Tajour. Not Pictured: Alexander Massier.

Eight Westlake residents were among the 17 Birchwood School of Hawken students who received writing awards in the Scholastic Art & Writing competition. Nadia Ibrahim received a Gold Key award, qualifying her to compete at the national level. Sam Hessler and Isabella Issa received Silver Key awards. Paul Abou Haidar, Naya Alsouss, Shruthi Ravichandran, Hadi Tajour and Alexander Massier were awarded honorable mention for their entries.

The students submitted narrative pieces in categories like memoir/personal essay, short story, science fiction, fantasy, or flash fiction (shorter than 1,400 words). The winning entries were chosen by the panelists for creativity, technical skill and emerging voice.

Students whose work was recognized were invited to attend the award ceremony and reception on Jan. 14 at The Cleveland Institute of Art. They received certificates, pins and special awards. Gold Key winner, Nadia Ibrahim, also received the Short Story and the American Voices Nominee awards.

Language arts teacher Lorraine Tzeng has helped more than 10 students earn national recognition and 45 students attain regional awards during her time at Birchwood. When speaking about the success and dedication of her students she replied, “It is a long journey from the first draft to the final copy. Students put a lot of effort into revising and reworking their stories with gratifying results."

In March the National Award winners and Sponsored Award winners will be announced. The Gold Medal Finalists will be honored at Carnegie Hall with their family members and educators in June. 

Cynthia McNaughton

Mrs. Cindy McNaughton stepped the her role as director of marketing and public relations for Birchwood School of Hawken in 2012. The mother of a current Birchwood School student and two Birchwood graduates, Mrs. McNaughton knows firsthand the value of a Birchwood education. As she and her husband continue to enjoy raising their family in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, her appreciation has grown for this educational gem on city’s west side.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:57 AM, 02.07.2017