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Letters from 14 students at Lee Burneson Middle School are among the top 20 percent selected as state finalists in the Library of Congress’ Letters About Literature 2014 Contest.

In December, all of Deb Schrembeck’s Language Arts students entered the writing contest, which asks students in grades four to 12 to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author about how the book affected them personally. In Ohio, 1,283 letters were received. The top 20 percent were selected as state finalists. LBMS’ 14 letters are among the 101 Level II finalists from grades seven and eight. Nationally, about 8,000 letters make it to state-level judging.

LBMS state finalists are seventh graders Isabella DiGiulio, McKenna Grady, Akhilesh Reddy, Abby Rence, Chad Sargent and Meghana Tandon; and eighth graders Sam Giusto, Molly Kilbane, Bella Krupa, Miranda Li, Nikki Miller, Allie Routhier, Norah Wilson and Kimaya Bakhle. A panel of judges will choose first, second and third-place winners from each level by the end of April. The first place winners will receive $100 and have their letters published and bound in a book at the Library of Congress, second place receives $75 and third place receives $50. State-level winners will be invited to a reception on May 3 to receive their prizes at the Cleveland Public Library.

Only first-place state winners advance to national competition. Judges include authors, publishers, librarians and educators from all 50 states. All of the state finalist letters will be forwarded to living authors in hopes of a personal reply. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter the Letters About Literature contest each year. National winners will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in May.

Pictured are LBMS Ohio Finalists: (Left to right) Molly Kilbane, Kimaya Bakhle, Bella Krupa, Abby Rence, Meghana Tandon, McKenna Grady, Isabella DiGiulio, Miranda Li, Allie Routhier, Nikki Miller, Akhilesh Reddy, Chad Sargent, Sam Giusto and Norah Wilson


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