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Sharpe named state writing competition winner

Goshen High School senior Destiny Sharpe has been selected as a first-place winner in the 2009 Alabama Letters About Literature contest.

Sharpe took first place honors in Level III (grades 9-12) of the statewide competition. Students from Florence High School took second and third place honors and honorable mention went to students from Gadsden City High School and Cherokee County High School.

“I really entered the competition for a grade, but I always try to do my best at whatever I’m doing,” Sharpe said. “But I was surprised that I won because this was a statewide competition, and I was competing against students from the big city schools.”

Letters About Literature is a national reading-writing contest requires students to write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre — fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic – explaining how the author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world around them.

“I chose Patricia McCormick and the book I read was ‘CUT’ because I had been though a lot of the stuff in the book and could relate to the characters,” Sharpe said. “I had been there. I knew what they were thinking and feeling.”

Sharpe had little trouble in expressing her thoughts and feelings about what the book had meant to her because she is a “writer.”

“I write all the time,” she said. “I write poetry, short stories and keep a journal. I love to do research and write essays. I love to write and I love to read.”

When Sharpe was in kindergarten, she said her biggest fear was that she wouldn’t be able to learn to read.

“I really wanted to read and I was so afraid that I couldn’t,” she said. “When I did learn to read, I fell in love with it and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Sharpe’s future plans are to attend Troy University and major in English. She would like to teach at the high school level for a while and then on the post secondary level. “I love home so I want to stay around south Alabama,” she said.

On Saturday, April 18, Sharpe will join other 2009 Alabama Letters About Literature contest winners at an awards ceremony at the Alabama Book Festival at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery.

Each winning student will receive books and a certificate from the Alabama Center for the Book. The first-place winner in each level will also receive a $50 gift card from Target Stores.

First-place winners from the state competitions are then submitted to the national contest where six winners will be chosen to receive $10,000 reading promotion grants for their school or community library.

The winning Alabama entries were selected from more than 600 entries by students in grades four through 12 across the state. The Alabama competition was sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book, part of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University and by the Alabama Humanities Foundation. National sponsors are the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and Target Stores.