Eighth grader Rylee Boyer of Miami Valley School in Dayton recently received the Randy Kramer Award for Writing Excellence from the Kiwanis Club of Dayton. Presented in memory of longtime Dayton Kiwanis member and Power of the Pen supporter Randy Kramer, the award recognizes Rylee’s outstanding performance at the 2021 West Carrollton District Tournament.
Riley was invited to the April 20 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Dayton, held via Zoom, to read “I Won,” a story she wrote in response to the prompt Betrayed. The piece describes a battle of wills between a violinist and a pianist during a performance. Though Rylee is not a pianist, her writing was so convincing that one of the judges was sure Rylee’s story reflected personal experiences with performing on piano.
According to Rylee’s coach, Debbie Voetberg, realistic detail and the ability to evoke emotions are strengths of Rylee’s writing. “I coach the writers to think about what they know and how they can use it in their writing,” she said. “They do not have to write an entire story about an experience, but they can use a piece of it, including enough details that it is realistic to the reader.”
Rylee says that the lessons she has learned in Power of the Pen have improved her writing in academic settings, as well.
Outstanding Teacher Award
The Kiwanis Club of Dayton also presented the Outstanding Teacher Award to Carol Brown of Ankeney Middle School in Beavercreek. Ankeney won third place in the 7th grade and second place in the 8th grade at the West Carrollton tournament.
At the April Kiwanis Club of Dayton meeting, Carol shared how much Power of the Pen means to students. “Power of the Pen practices are a safe and calming place for them,” she said. “Power of the Pen provides them with a creative outlet, a chance to express themselves in a way that they cannot always do through class assignments.” As a result, Carol says, students’ confidence in their writing ability blossoms.
Carol also shared students’ comments about Power of the Pen with the Kiwanis Club of Dayton. In addition to the excitement and inspiration generated by the writing tournaments, students appreciate the one-on-one feedback they receive from judges. Students understand the time and careful thought that judges put into the comments on their writing, and they apply the judges’ advice as they hone their skills.
“Thank you for the impact you have on students and teachers,” Carol told the Kiwanis members at the close of the meeting. “Without you, Power of the Pen wouldn’t be here for our students.”