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Decorah middle school student earns top honors in national writing competition

Posted: Tue, Apr 11, 2017 10:20 AM
(Front row left to right): Decorah Middle School students Nolan Jacobsen, Dalton Hemesath, Landan Folkedahl, Adrian Huang, Anya Lovstuen and Allison Pavlovec; (Back row left to right): Riley Wilson, Drew Chamberlain, and Grace Gerleman

Decorah Middle School seventh grader Adrian Huang has won top honors in the "Letters About Literature" national writing competition sponsored by the Library of Congress and Iowa Center for the Book.

Huang will be recognized on Friday, April 28th, at a state ceremony in Des Moines for his outstanding letter, which earned him third place among 787 Iowa students in seventh and eighth grades.

Huang's letter to author Thanhha Lai about her book, "Inside Out and Back Again," compares his life with immigrant parents to that of the main character in the book.

Nationally, students in grades 4-12 this year wrote 39,000 letters, which were first judged by librarians and teachers at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. There were a total of 1,618 entries from Iowa. Of those, 163 passed stringent national reviews and were sent back to Iowa for state judging.

Eight other DMS student letters were recognized for excellence: three were named finalists and five were named semi-finalists.

Finalists were Dalton Hemesath, Anya Lovstuen, and Allison Pavlovec.

Semi-finalists were Drew Chamberlain, Landan Folkedahl, Grace Gerleman, Nolan Jacobsen, and Riley Wilson.

To enter the Letters About Literature competition, students in grades 4-12 write a letter to an author explaining how that author's work changed the student's way of thinking. Readers respond to the work they have read by exploring the personal relationship between themselves, the author, and the book's characters or themes.

Letters can be written about works from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, by authors from the present or the past. Students can write about a book, short story, poem, or speech, but no matter what the subject of the work, the letter should show the impact it had on the student.

Winning student letters can soon be read at