May 27, 2001 – Makeda Leonard and Elexisca Morriessette are eighth grade students at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.
They found out Friday that they have a couple of other things in common.
For one thing, they both aspire to careers as pediatricians.
The way they found out about that was when a Source reporter interviewed them about something else they share: They are the territory's winners in the 2001 Promising Young Writers Program sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.
Both will receive certificates of recognition for demonstrating exceptional writing ability.
In fact, Cancryn eighth-grade English teacher Barbara Bailey (who happens also to be Elexisca's grandmother) said the Source let the cat out of the bag in contacting the girls about the honor after having received a news release from the National Council of Teachers of English. "They were supposed to find out at the honors award program," on June 6, Bailey said. However, she added, "It's okay, though. It was a nice surprise."
Teachers of eighth-grade English language arts nominate students to take part in the annual program. The students submit samples of their best work and write impromptu essays on a topic assigned by their teachers. Judging panels consisting of teachers at the state level evaluate the pupils' writing in terms of content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development and style.
A total of 895 eighth-grade students in the United States, Canada, and American Schools abroad were nominated by teachers for recognition this school year. Awards are going to 257 of them.
Cancryn eighth grade and honors English teacher Linda Jones, who nominated Elexisca and Makeda, said this is the second year students from the territory have entered the competition.
Cancryn's principal, Yvonne Pilgrim, is the state coordinator for the National Council of Teachers of English. "When I was assistant principal, I found out about the program," she said. She took it to the English teachers "so we could encourage our adolescents to write."
Winning national recognition isn't going to change the fact that neither girl plans to take up a writing career. Elexisca said her favorite subject is math. Makeda said "I'm just into the medical field."
The territory also nominated four other students selected locally to take part in the Promising Young Writers Program this year. They are Yiomara George, Lamoi Hedrington, Shannah John and Winsome Nisbett.


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