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St. Bridget Students Master Art Of Handwriting

May 8, 2011 by John Rook

Handwriting is becoming a lost art. Between email and text messaging, it seems that communication has been relegated to the world of electronics.
Few, if any of us, have a need to pick up a pen or pencil these days.
But the publishing company of Zaner-Bloser sees things differently. The company produces educational materials for schools, distributed throughout the U.S., including forms on how to improve handwriting skills.
Zaner-Bloser thinks so much of handwriting techniques that, each year, they sponsor a contest where students throughout the country in grades one through eight are asked to show their competency expressing themselves with nothing but pen in hand.
This year, two of the state winners in their grade levels are from St. Bridget School.
Connor Perry, who won the script writing contest for second grade, and David Alino, who won the cursive writing contest for fourth grade, were honored earlier this year by both St. Bridget School and Zaner-Bloser. The students received a cash prize for their class, a certificate of recognition from the school, and a medal from the state.
“It looks like an Olympic medal,” said Perry, of his award.
The contest was administered in school, during the boys' class sessions. Each student in the class was asked to fill out a form. The first part asked them to copy letters and words exactly as they were shown, while the second half asked the students to answer a specific question, in their own handwriting, in as exact a manner as possible.
According to a press release issued by Zaner-Bloser, the entries were judged based on certain criteria, described as “keys to legibility”: size, shape, spacing, and slant. The first part of the contest was in-school, as teachers selected winners. Then, those winners were forwarded on to the state level, where a panel reviewed all entries to see which were the best.
Perry, who is from Beacon Falls, admitted that he found the first part of the form easy, but the second part, where he had to answer the question, was tougher.
schools-DSC_0001.JPG“They asked why I thought handwriting was important,” said Perry. “I can't remember what I said, but it was kind of tough, making sure everything was perfect.”
Alino, a Cheshire resident, had to answer a question about his favorite sports for the final portion of the form, and he echoed Perry's sentiments.
“It was a little difficult concentrating,” he said.
Also, being left handed, Alino is used to turning the paper a certain way, and had to adjust the angle a bit to make sure he was forming his letters precisely as needed.
Both students acknowledged that, when they had finished, they were happy with what they had done. However, it didn't occur to either one that they would be chosen as winners.
“When they said that I won in class, I was very excited,” remembered Alino. “My friends were there and they were applauding and giving me high-fives.”
Perry was informed during a school meeting in the gym.
“When they said it I was like 'what, I won?'” he recalled. “I couldn't believe it.”
Then, word came from the state that each had been chosen as the winner. The announcement came with a medal.
“It is gold and really nice,” said Alino. “I didn't think I would get that.”
Now, the two students will have a chance to see if their entries make the grade at the national level.
The competition won't be confined to Connecticut. Instead, students from all over the country will be going up against the St. Bridget entries.
However, for Perry, he's just happy the form he submitted the first time is the only one being judged.
“I asked my mom whether I had to do (the form) all over again, and she said no,” said Perry. “I was happy about that because I don't think I could do it again that good.”

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