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Kirkwood High School Language Arts Students Earn National Accolades in Writing Contest

Kirkwood High School has six juniors who have secured designations for the 2024 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Achievement Award in Writing.


Laura Hainline earned a Superior rating

Hadley Kates earned a Superior rating

Nicholas Kruszka earned a Superior rating

Kyrstiana Martz earned a Superior rating

Grayciana Branam earned an Excellent rating

Sophia Webb earned an Excellent rating


The NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students to write and to recognize some of the best student writers in the nation. Schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, US territories, Canada, and American schools abroad are eligible to nominate students for the writing program.


This year’s writing prompt was inspired by a quote from Michelle Obama’s book Becoming: “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you'll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.” They composed a personal piece that defines who they are and how they show it. The students conveyed their thoughts via traditional essay, personal narrative, spoken word poem, video essay or graphic essay.


This year, 633 students from across the globe were nominated included students from 44 states, Guam and Washington, D.C. Internationally, teachers nominated students from Canada, Greece, Jordan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Two to three independent judges evaluated each submission holistically on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.


For more information about the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, including past winners, visit:


The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is the nation’s most comprehensive literacy organization, supporting more than 25,000 teachers across the preK–college spectrum. Through the expertise of its members, NCTE has served at the forefront of every major improvement in the teaching and learning of English and the and the language arts since 1911.