Seventh-Grader Competes in National Handwriting Competition

North Texas girl finishes as winner for her grade in private schools

Handwriting is becoming a lost art, but not at a Denton school with a national contest winner.

Lauren Will, a seventh-grader at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, was selected last month as one of the 16 National Grade-Level Winners in the 21st Annual National Handwriting Contest.

Will is a focused student and fierce competitor.

"Even like little class games, I try to win," she said. "I didn't know I had what it takes to win nationals."

Will won the top spot for seventh-graders in private schools in this year's competition.

"They judge on your slant and the way you do your loops," she said. "You have to do everything completely perfect."

Her school begins teaching handwriting in the second grade.

"Every year, we have won state championships," said Kelly Briones, Immaculate Conception teacher and handwriting coach. "It really is a big deal."

She said many schools have taken handwriting out of their curriculum.

"I just think it's a shame, because it really is a lost art," Briones said. "To me, it's part of showing your work ethic and showing who you are as a person. It's a reflection of you."

Handwriting is often viewed irrelevant today, when technology is given priority. But students such as Will point to the importance of both.

"I can type about 42 words per minute," Will said. "I go on Skype and talk to my friends and Facebook and my email."

More than 325,000 students participated in the annual National Handwriting Contest sponsored by Zaner-Bloser. Public and private schools entered a student for each grade level for the state competition. The state winners then competed to become a National Grade-Level Winner.

Will and the other 15 National Grade-Level Winners competed to be one of eight Grand National Champions. The seventh-grade winner was a student from Charlotte, N.C.

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