Wordsmith takes gold at local Writing Olympics


Wordsmith Writing Olympics Facebook Group

The poster announcing the continuation of Wordsmith over zoom calls. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 Wordsmith Writing Olympics was held virtually over zoom.

Ready, set, write! The Spartan WordSmith team dominated at the 2021 WordSmith Writing Olympics despite the seemingly endless challenges of COVID-19. 

The team earned an impressive total of thirteen medals and awards, with Vivian Fan (9) placing second overall in the ninth grade group. Fan has participated in WordSmith for three years. 

“WordSmith is a writing competition where you are given a certain amount of time to write about a photo or some other type of prompt,” Fan said. “It’s fun to spend some time doing something creative.” 

The WordSmith tournament lasted three hours and consisted of three separate writing competitions: the 80,120, and 400 word-dashes. Due to circumstances with COVID-19, the competition was held over Zoom and the traditional format was modified. Baridakara Meneh (12) has competed in WordSmith for four years and received an honorable mention for the 400 word-dash. 

“It was really short notice [two weeks] because they weren’t planning on doing WordSmith at all and they decided to do it at the last minute … We didn’t really have a lot of time to practice or get a team together so a few people heard about it and reached out to other WordSmith people or people who enjoyed writing and got the ball rolling that way,” Meneh said. 

Ninth grade english teacher Dwight Wade has been a WordSmith coach for 15 years and has nothing but praise for how the team handled these virtual obstacles. 

“Students who participated this year really went in blind and they represented White Station High School. I’m glad they showed up and did a fantastic job and I’m glad they had the opportunity because I think many of them were looking for something. This has been a year of isolation for most people and they were really glad to have some light in the middle of it and look how well we did,” said Wade. “In our daily lives, we fall into the slumber of repetition and we sort of fall asleep at the wheel. Language has the capacity to sort of awaken us from those ordinary perspectives and see things in a new unique original light and that’s really what the fun of WordSmith is all about.” 

One shared trait among the Spartan WordSmith writers is their appreciation for the comradery formed among inspiring writers on the team. Meneh shared some parting advice for Spartan students considering joining WordSmith. 

“First off don’t be afraid of your lack of experience being a problem … you’re going to get a lot of chances to practice so don’t worry too much about that. And secondly, have fun. The type of thing that wins in WordSmith is the type of writing that stands out from the norm. Don’t be afraid of being unique,” Meneh said. “And finally all is well that ends well. You don’t have to win to get something from the experience. Getting to be part of the WordSmith group at White Station is really interesting and has always been a highlight of my time.”