March Events Celebrated Student Success in the Arts & Writing


Over 500 students from the OESD region participated in the Young Writer’s Conference held regionally March 22 and 28 at Olympic and Peninsula Community Colleges. Students from 12 local districts and five private schools sent students and teachers to participate in the all-day event where students get the opportunity to share stories, learn from presenters and work with their peers.

Noise Guy Grouped with grade level peers and a teacher who presents a lesson and facilitates the sharing session, participants get to hear from noted professionals in two presenter sessions and share lunch together. This year, presenters included Charlie Williams, the Noise Guy, an author and vocal sound impressionist, specializing in onomatopoeia, a form of using words to imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they represent ( Presenting a second workshop, Andrea Gabriel, a fine artist and children’s book illustrator, spoke to students about training the “inner creative monkey,” how to produce results and tips on revision ( Andrea Gabriel

Teachers participating in the Young Writer’s Conference also feel this is a great tool for encouraging students and sharing ideas among teachers, “The Young Writer’s Conference is such a great vehicle for validating the students who are creative and perhaps have not had the opportunity to shine in other areas,” says Carla Fontenot, a teacher at Crosspoint Academy who has been bringing students for 13 years. She adds “It inspires students to ‘not give up’ on their writing abilities and gives them promise that their hard work may turn into something very exciting in the future. I think that it is so much fun to let the students showcase their writing samples with students from other schools, and it’s a great way for teachers to network together. It makes me feel connected to my community.”

In a second event celebrating students, the 39th Annual Regional High School Art Show was on display and juried during the month of February. Student work was recognized in a reception at the Olympic ESD on the evening of March 7, 2012. At the packed reception hosted by OESD Media Coordinator, Sarah Freitas and Superintendent Walt Bigby, students and families were able to view their displayed work and hear from OSPI’s Supervisor for the Arts, Anne Banks.

Students from 11 high schools submitted a total of 77 pieces, which were viewed and voted by viewers and visitors to the ESD. Judges chose seven pieces to advance to the state show, judged according to four criteria: creativity, composition, technique and originality. An eighth piece was chosen as the People’s Choice Award, a result of the votes by visitors and viewers. Students were individually recognized throughout the night by a display of their piece as well as the opportunity to speak about the inspiration for each piece. Inspiration included Dr. Seuss books, Edgar Allen Poe poems, finding the beauty in ordinary objects, and deeper meanings.

Regional Winners include:


The People’s Choice Award winner, receiving a $200 purchase award and their piece professionally framed and on display at the Olympic ESD, was presented to Kaitlin McGrew for “Beaming, Radiant Fall Leaves.” 

Current and past People’s Choice Awards are on permanent display in the foyer of the Olympic ESD, and the regional winners that have had their pieces advance to state will be on display at OSPI from April 9th through May 29th at the Old Capital Building in Olympia. The state award reception will be held on Friday, May 18. For more information, visit OSPI at Images courtesy of Sarah Freitas and Maria Fowler, Instructional Materials Cooperative.  For information regarding this article, please contact Heather Tonder at  

Images courtesy of Sarah Freitas and Maria Fowler, Instructional Materials Cooperative.  For information regarding this article, please contact Heather Tonder at  

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