August 4, 2013

Local kindergartner feted in national writing contest

SCHUYLER FALLS — At just 5 years old, Miriam Sayward’s love of animals and knack for storytelling has earned her national recognition.

The Schuyler Falls child recently won third place in the Kindergarten Division of the national PBS Kids’ Go! Writers Contest for her original story, “A Baby for Jenny,” which chronicles the true tale of a goose’s quest for motherhood.

The contest, intended to foster creative thinking and improve literacy and vocabulary among youth, invited children in kindergarten through third grade to create original books of fact, fiction, prose or poetry with five original illustrations.

Thousands of entries were first submitted to one of 62 participating PBS stations, including Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, which then selected first-place winners from each grade level to be entered in the national contest.

Choosing America’s 2013 winning entries was a panel of judges, including award-winning children’s authors Jeff Kinney and R.L. Stine and Jim Henson Co. CEO Lisa Henson.


While this was the first year Miriam was eligible to enter, her siblings, Liam, 13; Grace, 11; and Gideon, 7; have been participating in the contest for the past few years.

“Once we got into it, it was a lot of fun because they each get to write their own type of story and do their own type of art,” said their mom, Melissa Sayward, who home-schools Miriam and her siblings and has incorporated the contest into their curriculum.

Gideon has won first place in his division on the local level for the past three years, topping the second-grade division this year with his story, “A New Mouse House.”

And Grace received honorable mentions locally for her poetry books when she was in second and third grades.

In the 19 years Mountain Lake PBS has been participating in the contest, however, Miriam’s is the first of the station’s entries to place nationally.

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