A student representing Divine Savior Academy recently won high honors in this year’s WordWright Challenge, a competition for American high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.
In the year’s first meet, held in October, DSA junior Lucciano Sepulveda placed among the top 150 highest-scoring eleventh graders in the entire country.
The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. The texts students must analyze can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Updike to poetry as old as Shakespeare’s or as recent as Margaret Atwood’s, and to essays as classic as E.B. White’s or as current as James Parker’s.
Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone, and length, they have one thing in common: style. All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning not always apparent to students on a first or casual reading. Like the questions on the verbal SAT I, the SAT II in English Literature, and the Advanced Placement exams in both English Language and English Literature, the questions posed by the WordWright Challenge ask students both to recognize the emotional and rational logic of a piece of writing and to notice the ways in which a writer’s style shapes his meaning.
The texts for the first WordWright meet this year were an essay by George Orwell for 9th and 10th graders and a short story by John Updike for 11th and 12th graders. The students will participate in three more meets over the coming months, and medals and certificates will be awarded in June to those who achieve and/or improve the most in the course of the year.
“The goal of our college-preparatory curriculum is to produce students who are in every way prepared for the rigors of university and the workforce,” comments High School Academic Dean John Althoff, “Encouraging our students in these skills through individualized instruction and friendly competition motivates them to consistently excel in these areas.”
Divine Savior Academy is a PreK-12th grade school located in Doral. As the only private, Christian school in the community, DSA seeks to provide excellence in education through college-preparatory academics taught by supportive teachers in a Christian environment. For more information about Divine Savior’s preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school programs, please call 305-597-4545 or schedule a tour online at DivineSaviorAcademy.com.