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Channel Eight announces middle school writing contest winners

April 13, 2010

Eight's Educational Outreach division-ASSET and Qwest Foundation announced the winners of the Qwest Storymakers Middle School Writing Contest, April 10, at an awards ceremony and author workshop/lecture that took place at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix.

The event included a lecture presented by Terri Fields, a former Arizona Teacher of the Year, who has written children's books and young adult books including, "Danger in the Desert," "Counting Arizona's Treasures," "After the Death of Anna Gonzales," "Burro's Tortillas," and "My Father’s Son and Holdup."

Eight received more than 1,400 entries for the contest from students across Arizona. First place prizes were awarded in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade levels in three separate categories: fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

"Qwest started this program three years ago in Colorado as a way to energize middle school students around creative writing and we're proud to bring it to Arizona students," said Jim Campbell, Qwest Arizona president. "As a provider of advanced broadband technology, Qwest encourages out-of-the-box thinking and the ability to communicate those ideas in writing – both of which are critical skills in the technology world today."

The winning students and stories include:

First place for non-fiction:

• Jana Foehle, sixth grade, Mountainside Elementary School, Scottsdale, "My Tooth Story"

Gabriela B., seventh grade, Sonoran Trails Middle School, Cave Creek, "Change of Fate"

Valerie Portolano, eighth grade, Fountain Hills Unified, Fountain Hills, "White Walls of Misery"

First place for fiction:

• Anthony Mirabito, sixth grade, Neely Elementary School, Gilbert, "Ransack Revenge"

Tessa Reinhart, seventh grade, Altadena Middle School, Phoenix, "Dare to Care"

Delilah Cassidy, eighth grade, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School, Casa Grande, "Color War"

First place for poetry:

• Julia Luzi, sixth grade, Pinnacle Peak Elementary, Scottsdale, "Scrumptious Treats"

Daria Earley, seventh grade, Canyon Ridge, Surprise, "Perhaps the Poems ..."

• Rachel Beglin, eighth grade, Bogle Junior High School, Chandler, "Day by Day ..."

The prizes – Netbook laptops – were donated by Qwest Pioneers Arizona Chapter, in honor of a bequest from Pioneer Frieda Graham. 

All of the winning stories are available online at

About the Qwest Foundation
The Qwest Foundation's core principle is that investing in people and communities provides lasting value for the future. The Qwest Foundation awards grants to community-based programs that generate high-impact and measurable results, focusing on pre-K through grade 12 education.

About the Qwest Pioneers
Founded in 1911, Pioneers is a non-profit network of volunteers more than 620,000 volunteers strong committed to serving our communities in the United States, Canada and beyond. As long as there's a need, no matter how large or small, Pioneers answer the call for help in every way imaginable. For more information about Pioneers, visit their Web site or call 1-800-976-1914.

About Eight's Educational Outreach
Arizona Pre K-12 students benefit from outreach programs and educator professional development distributed statewide by Eight Educational Outreach-ASSET. For more information visit

About Eight, Arizona PBS
Arizona PBS specializes in the education of children, in-depth news and public affairs, lifelong learning, and the celebration of arts and culture — utilizing the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach services, and community-based initiatives. The PBS station began broadcasting from the campus of Arizona State University on January 30, 1961.  Now more than 80 percent of Arizonans receive the signal through a network of translators, cable and satellite systems.  With more than 1.3 million viewers each week, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country.  Arizonans provide more than 60 percent of the station’s annual budget. For more information, visit Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.