OHIO'S interscholastic WRITING LEAGUE for adolescents & young adults


Winning a PenOhio tournament is not just about getting a trophy and recognition. It's about identifying the best writing in Ohio so that the educational community can use the work to teach others by it.

Each year, PenOhio will compile the best works drawn from tournament competition in its eBook of Winners.

The compositions contained in this year's edition were written by high school students who won top awards for excellence in writing during the PenOhio tournament season. These narrative works were selected through a multi-step judging process for publication because of their literary merit, and because of they present excellent examples of writing that exceeds requirements for narrative writing set forth by Ohio’s New Learning Standards.

These compositions have been edited in mechanics and usage only by writing team coaches and their students; and compiled and formatted for publication by Jonathan Smith of Alliance City Schools; Garth Holman of Beachwood City Schools; and Thomas Merrill, Project Director of PenOhio.

The collection is a valid sampling of the best creative expression which from the tournament competitions. These tournaments consisted of three forty-minute rounds of competitive writing with no advance knowledge of the topic.

It is hoped that these samples of excellence and the prompts that evoked them will serve as helpful models in the classroom, stimulating a greater awareness of those elements which lend style, voice, and meaning to written expression. To that end, The PenOhio eBook of Winners contains more than a collection of narrative stories. Inside this eBook, each story is followed by a page devoted to teachers and writing coaches.  

We hope that professionals use it—and these models and prompts—to take PenOhio into the classroom for the benefit of all learners.

Congratulations to the students, teachers, and schools whose success merits special commendation and from whose example much can be learned.

The complete PenOhio eBook of Winners, containing 30 of Ohio's best narrative works from tournament competition, is available for download to PenOhio members in the Coaches' Corner Page of the PenOhio website.

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Ancient Philippino Legend talks of a great and mysterious being. An ominous monstrosity so vastly ginormous and incredibly malignant, its very name strikes fear in the souls of the Philippino elders.

M’iiDock (Mu-eye-Dock)

M’iiDock is said to rest in the sea. At depths and distances too vast for human exploration. M’iiDock is infinite. Spanning the years and eons of pre-history, resting now only to give us a false sense of safety, security, and superiority. For humans are not the dominant figure on this planet. M’iiDock lies, clouded by inky waters, for the right time to rise again. If provoked, M’iiDock will unleash a vengeance unmatched and unimagined by any humans, or life forces at all.

The only reference we have for the fearsome and biblical capabilities of this beast lay within a fable, spread by word of mouth. It speaks of a great sailor, born to the ocean, captaining a vessel at a young age. This legendary captain had no name, but a love for the sea is where he placed his faith. Our captain had heard many a time the myths of M’iiDock, and longed to find it. If only to stare in awestruck wonder.

The captain’s raw curiosity fueled the lamp by which he studied M’iiDock. 

Endless sunsets spent gathering information, until the sun rose on the day our captain discovered what he longed for: M’iiDock’s resting place. Following a map of the stars, he sailed to this fabled location far from any civilization. On the day where he came upon the mythical place in the sea, he anchored his boat. In an effort to get M’iiDock’s attention, he began throwing things overboard so might sink to the bottom and touch the creature. But to no avail.

The captain stayed out there three weeks past his rations. After eating his mattress, he was discouraged, and sailed away. Feeling betrayed by the ocean, he ran his boat ashore and stepped onto land for the first time since his birth. He dismantled his ship and formed a home from the boards. After failing in his life goal of finding M’iiDock, the former 

captain fell into a deep depression. Years went by and the captain resurfaced from his disappointment and started a new life. He founded a company, creating tiny knick-knacks and trinkets to sell. He adored his work and crafted and sold them from the comfort of his home. The former captain was finally at peace. But it was not to be…

Deep within the ocean in a place far from human civilization...M’iiDock awoke. Rising from his eons-long 

slumber, the beast was infuriated to find it was covered in human creation that had been cast overboard from a ship. M’iiDock does not forget easily and M’iiDock never forgets. The mighty beast emerged from the depths. Thrashing about, sending monumental tidal waves in every direction, M’iiDock could smell the sickening scent of the captain who buried the beast. M’iiDock followed the scent. On a trail that ended in vengeance, M’iiDock came ashore and discovered a small wooden hut emitting that familiar scent. Infuriated, M’iiDock bellowed a bone-melting cry, opened its mouth aperture and swallowed the hut of the captain. And as quickly as it came, M’iiDock vanished back into the sea.

Luckily for our captain, he was at market when the incident occurred. Hearing the screech, he ran to his house to find only a crater, with a single, shiny scale off the M’iiDock.

He clutched the scale and fell to the ground in a heap. His store, his job, his home! All gone with the wind in the belly of an ancient sea monster! Unemployed and homeless! What will he ever do!?!

Well, I’m here to tell you that I am the captain of this story and NO, didn’t do last night’s assignment. Why? Because…

M’iiDock ate my homework.

The Great Captain and M'ii Dock Mythos

is written by Max Miesse to the prompt of "That's the best excuse I ever heard. Develop a narrative based on this sentence."

Max is from Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield, Ohio. He is coached by Andrew Buckles.

His story helped him to win these accolades:

  • First Place Writer, Varsity Division
    2017 PenOhio Southwest Regional

  • First Place Team, Varsity Division
     PenOhio Southwest Regional 

  • Wright State University
    Scholarship Award Winner

How Can Teachers Use Stories From
The PenOhio eBook To Drive Classroom Instruction? Here's An Example...

The story above is one of 30 award-winning stories you'll read in the 2017 PenOhio eBook of Winners. 

Each story is followed by a page devoted to Ohio High School teachers.

On the teacher page, you'll find quick tips on how to use each award-winning story as a basis for classroom instruction--in a way that ties the narrative story directly to Ohio's New Learning Standards for Writing.

Here's an example, using Max's story above:

From the 2017 PenOhio
eBook's Tips for Teachers...

  1. QUESTION: How does Max demonstrate that he is meeting or exceeding Ohio’s New Learning Standards in the content area of Writing?

    ANSWER: Max certainly demonstrates an outstanding ability to write a narrative that meets this ODE Standard: W.11-12.3.e: “Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.” Because Max does this so well, his narrative can serve as a Model of Excellence that teachers can use to help other learners understand—from a peer—how to craft their narratives similarly.

  2. QUESTION: After I read (or have my students read) Max’s narrative, what Guiding Questions could I pose to help writers think about ways of improving their writing in the future?

    ANSWER: Great question! There are several notable points that stand out in Max’s work. The first question to ask, is what stands out to YOU when you read Max’s writing? After you read it and set it aside for a moment, what do you remember? What three things do you remember? A hallmark of a great writer is that they make us remember things. How does Max do this? What devices does he use? And next, focus a line of questions on the conclusion. Max did a great job of answering the prompt, which was about an excuse. He had a great punchline at the end. How do you think he wrote a story like this one? Do you think he wrote it on the fly? Do you think he thought it out in advance? How would you write a story like this? Where would you start to develop your ideas?
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    Copyright 2017-2018, United Fellowship of The Pen and Planetc, LLC. All rights reserved.
    Original designs, ideas, and curriculum copyright 2016, Planetc, LLC. All rights reserved. Patent pending.

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