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Literacy days winners
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The Newton County Board of Education recently announced system winners of the Middle School 2008 RESA (Regional Education Service Area) Literacy Days contest for poetry recitation, drama and ready writing held on Jan. 8 at Newton High School.

Winners of the poetry recitation contest were sixth grade student Kimberly Stier of Cousins Middle School for "The Three Little Pigs," seventh grade student Meg Gourley of Veterans Memorial for "Goldie Pinklesweet" and eighth grade student Destiny McKnight of Veterans Memorial for "Tim."

Director of Middle School Curriculum Adria Griffin said poetry was an integral part of language arts curriculum.

"A lot of time and preparation went into the students' presentations and we are extremely proud of all of our participants," Griffin said. "It takes a lot of courage to get in front of an audience and these students did a remarkable job.

Each of the county's four middle schools held recitation competitions at school and sent their grade level winners to participate in the county contest.

Participants were judged on a number of criteria including stage presence, articulation, interpretation, memory and accuracy and difficulty of the piece.

In the ready writing competition, middle school champions were given a writing prompt and one hour to complete their essays.

Clements Middle School students Kristen Adaway, sixth grade, and Stephanie Lightsey, eighth grade won their grade-level competitions. Mary Lathem of Cousins was the seventh grade ready writing winner.

"The ability to communicate well, both verbally and in writing, is essential to success," Griffin said. "For this reason, writing is a very important part of the Newton County School System's curriculum that is taught in grades K through 12."

The Veterans Memorial Middle School drama team won the drama competition for their presentation of "Beans."

Team participants included Ian Elliott, D'Lexus Harvey, Hayley Hinton, Drew Kendall, Kaylarose Lindsey, Amber Myles, Chelsea Pilgrim and Caroline Sink.

All county winners will represent the Newton County School System in the district competitions to be held at the Third Ward School in Griffin on Feb. 7-9.

"As always, we are proud of the students who accept the challenge to compete against their peers," Griffin said. "All students who make it to the county level competition are already winners because they first had to win the competition at their own school before proceeding forward."