Two Alumni Receive Awards in the Prestigious “Writer’s Eye” Creative Writing Competition

February 13, 2017
February 13, 2017

Two Alumni Receive Awards in the Prestigious “Writer’s Eye” Creative Writing Competition

Two Grymes alumni were recently named as award-winners in this year’s Writer’s Eye creative writing competition in the High School Prose category:

Rhew Deigl ‘16 received second place for his piece entitled “Not Coming Back” inspired by the engraving The Convalescent by William Strang, and Blythe Brewster ‘16 received third place for “Phobia,” inspired by the photograph Sayed by Shirin Nesha. Both Rhew and Blythe are recent graduates of Grymes and current freshmen at Woodberry Forest School.

Currently in its 30th year, the Writer’s Eye competition has been frequented by Grymes students in Ms. Bost’s Upper School English classes for nearly three decades. Over the years, approximately thirty Grymes students have received recognition for outstanding creative writing.

“These awards speak to the strength of the Grymes curriculum in laying the foundation for this kind of achievement in writing and personal expression at Grymes and beyond.”

“We’re so proud of Rhew and Blythe. They represent their Grymes roots well as they continue to grow at the secondary level, and this wonderful accomplishment makes us all so proud,” says Penny Work, Head of Grymes Memorial School. “These awards are testament to their hard work and development as writers and thinkers. They also speak to the strength of the Grymes curriculum in laying the foundation for this kind of achievement in writing and personal expression, highlighting how the skills that begin at Grymes continue to develop and grow as each student launches to the next step in their education.”

Creative writing is a central component of the English & Language Arts curriculum at Grymes Memorial School, and the Writer’s Eye experience is a powerful one for our Upper School students. Each year, seventh and eighth grade students travel to the Fralin Museum, spending the day in the museum exploring art, learning about the exhibits, gathering inspiration and writing about the pieces. “After we return from our visit in the museum, synapses fire in English class as the students try to connect the dots in this puzzle,” says Upper School English teacher Dana Bost, who has taught creative writing at Grymes for over three decades. “The challenge asks us to join what we see with what we think. How does A influence B to render C. How does C use A? Judges are not only looking for the adept writer, but a writer who finds a way to use the art.”

Grymes 7th and 8th Graders during this year’s visit to the Fralin Museum of Art
for the Writer’s Eye Competition

Submissions for the competition are made by age groups ranging from grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12, and University/Adult, and entries are judged anonymously by area teachers and writing professionals. The competition is fierce; this year over 4,000 students participated and 1,758 entries were submitted from Charlottesville, Staunton, Waynesboro and nine other surrounding counties.

As a Grymes eighth grader last year, Blythe received Honorable Mention in the 6-8th Grade Prose category.

For Blythe and Rhew, both Grymes “lifers” and veterans of Ms. Bost’s Upper School English class, this year marked their third time submitting to the Writer’s Eye competition. In fact, just last year Blythe received Honorable Mention in the 6-8th Grade Prose category.

“Writing helps us be where we are, see what we have ignored and discover what we think,” says Bost. “Learning to write is no different than learning to play the piano; it takes practice and then more practice. When we write, there is no direction to go but deeper into uncharted territory. Congratulations to both Blythe and Rhew, who are seasoned travelers into uncharted territory!”

“I treasure the hours I got to spend in Ms. Bost’s classroom during my last two years at Grymes,” says Blythe. “I learned so much, not only about grammar and writing and reading, but about the world we live in and the things that we live around. She taught me how to think deeply and inquisitively about what I read, wrote, and observed. Ms. Bost, and all my Grymes teachers, sent me off to high school well prepared and with a great foundation on which my high school teachers are now building.”

“I’ll never forget how Ms. Bost taught us that, while we may be small, we can accomplish big things.”

“Grymes definitely prepared me for the academic rigor and high standards of the Woodberry program,” adds Rhew. “Ms. Bost especially pushed us to think in the abstract and constantly challenged us outside the box. I’ll never forget how she taught us that, while we may be small, we can accomplish big things, and that has stuck with me.”

Big things indeed. Both award-winning pieces will be published in the annual Writer’s Eye Anthology, and both students will receive their award at a ceremony in the Spring. We couldn’t be prouder of Rhew and Blythe as they continue to grow and blossom from their Grymes roots, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for these Grizzlies just beginning to make their mark on the world beyond Grymes!

 

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