When it comes to putting pencil to paper, Southwest Middle seventh-grader Trinh Tran is a grand champion – officially.
Trinh was named a Grand National Champion for the Zaner-Bloser 21st annual National Handwriting Contest. More than 325,000 students participated in the contest this year and she made it through the school, state and national contests.
Judges selected state winners in grades 1–8 for both public and private schools. State winners competed against each other to become one of the 16 public and private national grade-level winners. The national grade-level winners then compete to be chosen as one of eight Grand National Champions.
Winning is not only a great recognition for her work on handwriting but her effort to master English. Trinh, born in Vietnam, has been at Southwest for a year and in the United States for little more than a year. ESL teacher Ann Carpenter said Trinh works hard and is a joy to teach.
Trinh was speechless on Friday, May 11, when Principal Barry Blair and Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark surprised her with trophies, a medal and a scholarship check in front of her classmates and family.
“Think about the millions of children in this country. To have a student from our district, from one of our finest middle schools, to be lifted up as the best in the country is pretty extraordinary,” Clark said. “We know the work she had done and opportunities she’s had at this school have contributed to this.”
Clark also used the opportunity to challenge Trinh’s classmates to work hard for their goals.
"Push yourself; take a risk you,” she said. “You never know where that may lead. That opportunity is available to everybody in this room.”
Carpenter and the school also received $1,700, thanks to Trinh and other students’ success in the handwriting contest. That money will be used for writing programs next year, including one on calligraphy, Blair said.Research suggests that writing things by hand strengthen the learning process by engaging the brain in a way that typing on a keyboard does not do. Blair agrees and believes Southwest will see great success with its writing program.