University of Findlay Hosts JustWrite Ohio State Finals Competition
University of Findlay hosted the annual JustWrite Ohio state finals high school writing competition on May 11, 2023. With more than 250 participants, the event brought together writing enthusiasts from all walks of life for a day of literary celebration and friendly competition.
The writing competition, organized by the nonprofit organization JustWrite Ohio, has become a highly anticipated event for high school students from across the state. Those in attendance were invited after competing and scoring well in regional competitions in Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland. Students gathered to showcase their skills, explore new perspectives, and engage in a series of captivating writing challenges.
Competitors focused on a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, catering to diverse interests and fostering a nurturing environment for all attendees. Each student was asked to hand-write their prompts and short stories, as JustWrite focuses on “brain-to-hand transfer” instead of using the keyboard of a computer. “Students have to write neatly and legibly. It’s not just typing something up and it autocorrects for them, or provides them with suggested next words,” said Michael Nelson, executive director of JustWrite Ohio. “We really want these kids to be able to use their own thoughts, put it onto paper, and be able to express themselves.
Those in attendance also enjoyed workshops, panel discussions, and interactive sessions, led by accomplished authors, educators, and industry professionals. During the extra sessions, the students’ written works were scored, and awards were given to the top 15 writers in each division, the top three schools in each division, and grand-champion writers. “It’s really exciting to be able to call the kids up and recognize them for their hard work and dedication to creative writing,” said Nelson. In addition to the trophies from JustWrite Ohio, the University of Findlay also awarded the top writer in each division with a $1,000 scholarship.
Nelson and other members of JustWrite Ohio will reread each of the pieces over the next few months and help share the students’ work with others. “It’s great to go through and read all of these pieces. My board and I will go through each piece of writing and reach out to students after the event to express our excitement over their writing, or if we felt a story really touched us. A lot of the top scoring students today will also see their work get published for other people to enjoy.”
The event continues to grow in popularity, as Nelson says they expect to expand from three regional competitions this year, to five in 2024. “We’re looking at adding a second Columbus tournament, adding the 21 public schools. We’re also looking at the Cincinnati and Dayton area,” he said.
To learn more about University of Findlay, including its degrees in English – Creative Writing, English – General Writing, and UF’s Rhetoric & Writing Master’s program, visit www.Findlay.edu. To learn more about the JustWrite Ohio, including results from this year’s competition, visit the JustWrite Ohio webpage.