Columbus Middle School student finalist in state’s “ Do the Write Thing” challenge
Middle school students from across Montana wrote essays on violence for the 2015 “Do the Write Thing” challenge.
Columbus Middle School eighth grade student Dylan Sutton was one of 10 finalists out of 175 students who participated.
The finalists, which include five male and five female students from 7th and 8th grade, are chosen by a panel of judges from across the state.
Students are allowed to use any form of written expression for the challenge, but the language must be positive. Entries must be between 500 and 1,000 words and cannot be edited by anyone other than the student.
Sutton, 14, wrote a poem for his entry. He said he doesn’t really like writing essays, and prefers writing poems because it can be more expressive. His message about youth violence is “don’t join the group.”
“Do the Write Thing” entries needed to address three questions:
- How has violence affected my life?
- What are the causes of youth violence?
- What can I do about youth violence?
Students participated in classroom discussion about violence before writing their entries.
Lorrie Henrie-Koski, Sutton’s 8th grade reading teacher at Columbus Middle School, said she likes to give students as many opportunities as possible for writing.
Koski was on the selection committee last year.
It is really a powerful experience, she said, because the kids come from so many different backgrounds and are so honest.
Any time kids can write about their experiences it helps them, Koski said. It also helps the kids to see that they are not alone, she said.
All of these kids have been affected by violence in some way, even if they do not experience it at home, Koski said.
Sutton is an outstanding writer, Koski said. He also won second place earlier this year for his essay for the VFW Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest.
The state celebration was held Saturday, April 11 at ExplorationWorks in Helena. Abbey Scott of Laurel and Cooper Zikan of Hamilton were chosen from the 10 finalists to represent Montana as ambassadors in Washington, D.C. in July.
“Do the Write Thing” is a national program that is an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence. More than 1.6 million students have participated in the challenge.
Hundreds of Montana students have participated since the program started in Montana in 2008.
The challenge is funded in Montana by the Montana Board of Crime Control’s Youth Justice Council.
More information about the Do the Write Thing challenge is available on the Montana Board of Crime Control website at http://www.mbcc.mt.gov/JuvenileJustice/DtWT/DtWT.asp.
Blood, Pain, Laughter, Chaos.
All I remember before my vision went black.
A blast of cold rips me to a room
blood and water
crowd of onlookers
all surrounding a crumpled form,
trying to escape the pain.
as my vision tunnels to the form,
Alert. my mind goes to overdrive.
flashes from the day before
slam to my attention.
cries for help,
Surrounded by the school “gang.”
Wave after wave of
“No one should go through this”
But what can they do?
How do you stop youth violence?
To stop this terrible monster?