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7th grader wins W.Va. essay contest

January 18, 1998

7th grader wins W.Va. essay contest

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A kind word from a teacher inspired Allyson Orndorff, 12, to become an award-winning essay writer in West Virginia.

On Monday, the North Middle School seventh grader will read her essay on violence to West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood.

She also will do a reading of it to be broadcast on West Virginia Public Radio.

"I'm nervous about reading my essay to the governor," she said.

Orndorff's essay was picked from among more than 1,000 entries from middle school students in the state's Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest.

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Orndorff credited her language arts teacher, Joan Johnson, with inspiring her to write.

"She complimented me. She boosted my self-esteem about my writing," Orndorff said.

"It really lifted my spirits. A compliment is always nice," she said.

Kris McIntyre, an eighth grade student from North Middle, finished third in the contest.

"I'm very, very proud of them," said teacher Joan Johnson. "(Orndorff) is extremely talented with her writing."

Johnson said she has taught for 33 years and has always encouraged the students to enter the writing contests.

Several of her North Middle students have placed first in several statewide contests over the years, she said.

"It the kids, not me. I'm just there to guide them," Johnson said.

Orndorff said she has entered several other writing contests, but not heard back from them yet on how she did.

The essay that won took her weeks to write.

Orndorff said she wrote how adults who commit violence have not grown up and still throw temper tantrums.

Orndorff said she's not been the victim of violence herself, though in October she got in trouble at school when a boy began to punch her and she defended herself.

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