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PERSPECTIVE: Strath Haven beats Penncrest in Central League Writing Contest

In case you were curious about what the inside of Penncrest looks like.
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On April 19, Strath Haven sent eight students, two per grade, to the Central League Writing Contest, a creative writing contest hosted by Penncrest. 

Freshmen Edward Gebhardt and Kaitlyn Ho, sophomores Mali Rao and Luke Malaczewski, juniors Sharron Richardson and Alex Piech, and seniors Olivia Coyle and Lydia Pita competed.

Twelve schools attended, each paying an entrance fee of $200.

The contest took place in the Penncrest library, which has a very nice skylight and a whole shelf of manga. The hallways have a lot of posters of their Physics Olympiad wins. 

Fun fact about the Penncrest bathrooms: They actually have specific ones only used for special events. According to some Penncrest students, these special event bathrooms are much nicer than their actual bathrooms. Appreciate our janitorial staff, please.

After being fed breakfast (on a one to ten scale, food was a six), we were given a writing prompt and one hour to write. The writing prompt included a picture of the Mona Lisa and asked us to write a short story on why she was smiling. 

‘Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end!’, the picture had been captioned, as a strange sort of good luck, perhaps.

And then we wrote. This part was not particularly exciting, but I enjoyed it. Note to my fellow writers: take a break from your schoolwork and answer some writing prompts every once in a while. In the midst of crazy school, writing can be a welcome distraction.

We converged in their auditorium afterwards, and kids began to talk about their response to the prompt. There were some seriously crazy ones. In many, the Mona Lisa was a crazy murderer­­­— so to answer the prompt, she’s smiling villainously in the portrait due to her successful kills. It was a bit concerning.

Guest author Jim Zervanos spoke with the contestants. He wrote the book That Time I Got Cancer, and a copy of the book was in each 1st place and 2nd place winners’ gift bag. That, and two Hershey bars.

They served slices of cake with Shakespeare’s face on it, as well! After an hour of tireless scribbling, the cake was a welcome and delicious reward.

Apparently Penncrest is our biggest rival? We beat them in the freshman category. We did it to avenge all of our Central League losses.

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Ho '26
Kaitlyn Ho '26, Managing Editor of Web
Kaitlyn Ho is the current managing editor of web and the health and sciences editor of The Panther Press. Her first article was on the German Exchange Students. There was no turning back after that. She loves to learn about communicating complex science in simple ways, reading, dancing, artificial intelligence, and playing (badly) the piano and cello. Her future self can confirm that she will laugh at and enjoy every single thing her past self wrote.
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