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Penning success across Pacific South Middle Schools

Ms. Kristen Walker
May 06, 2024
A close-up photograph featuring a pen with the overlaid text 'Okinawa Writing Rally 2024'.

On April 20, 2024, Lester Middle School hosted its tenth annual all-middle school Writing Rally, a cherished tradition that has spanned over a decade. Founded by two dedicated teachers, Ms. Valerie Roshong and Ms. Hilarie Meadows, the event brings together up to six delegates from each of Okinawa’s three local middle schools: Ryukyu Middle School, Lester Middle School, and Kadena Middle School.

The Writing Rally is more than just a competition; it’s a celebration of creativity, expression, and the power of words. Over the years, it has become a highlight on the academic calendar, eagerly anticipated by students, teachers, and parents alike. The PTOs from all three schools also help support the initiative by providing prizes, lunch, cake, and snacks for the participants.

“I commend our students from across the district for their unwavering commitment to writing, particularly in an era dominated by texting,” said Ryukyu Middle School Principal Veronica Finney. “The eleven students at the writing rally not only exemplified their dedication but also mirrored that of the educators who guide them.”

During the rally, students were provided with two prompts and 40 minutes to write about each topic. Then, students read each entry from their peers, ranking their top three favorites from each round. The first place winner, Kirra Aguon (8th grader, Kadena MS), walked away with a beautiful leather-bound journal and ink pen set. The second place winners, Julianna Aubin (6th grader, Lester MS) and Eliana Blom (6th grader, Kadena MS) each received a high-quality ink pen, a practical tool for future writing endeavors.

“Every year, I’m amazed by the depth and imagination displayed by our young writers,” said Ms. Valerie Roshing, one of the event’s founders. “Their words have the power to transport us to different worlds, and I love reading about what they come up with each time.”

The Writing Rally fosters camaraderie among students. It’s a chance for budding authors to connect, share ideas, and appreciate each other’s work.

“The Writing Rally is a testament to the importance of literacy and self-expression,” said Ms. Hilarie Meadows echoed this sentiment. “We hope it continues to ignite the passion for writing in our students for many years to come.”

Read the winning students’ work here: Writers Rally Winners

DoDEA students proudly showcasing their Writing Rally prizes.
Ainsley Neill (KMS), Julianna Aubin (LMS), Shyleigh-Joy Greene (KMS), Peyton Shea (LMS), Eliana Blom (KMS)


Students from Okinawa proudly displaying their Writing Rally certificates.
Ms. Valerie Roshong (LMS), Olivia Keplinger (KMS), Kirra Aguon (KMS), Franklin Buckner (LMS), Milo Coolidge (RMS), Molly Hess (KMS), Ms. Hilarie Meadows (KMS)

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