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Local First Place Winners Will Advance to the National Contest to be Judged This Summer

May 18, 2014

George Hazimanolis

--Local First Place Winners Will Advance to the National Contest to be Judged This Summer--

PITTSBURGH – The winners of the 20th annual WQED PBS KIDS Writers Contest have been chosen. Over 800 area students in Kindergarten and grades one, two and three submitted stories to WQED’s Contest this year. For the past five years, over 7,000 stories have been received from local students for the Contest made possible by local financial support from the EQT Foundation.

“PBS KIDS programs are continuously recognized for their ability to prepare students for school. With support from the EQT Foundation, Pittsburgh’s public media station (WQED) is able to take that content, and bring it directly into the classroom through projects like the PBS KIDS Writers Contest. Together, we have engaged several thousand students in the region around the arts and literacy,” said Ellen Donley, Community Relations and Event Manager, EQT.

WQED also hosted an online voting portal and invited the public to view and listen to finalists read their stories aloud to choose the Kid’s Choice Award.

The winner of the 2014 Kid’s Choice Award is Brooklyn Eastly of Evans City for her story called Mr. Docker’s New Friend. All of the winners’ stories may be viewed at writeonkids.org.

First Place: Grandpa Pig’s Pizza by Nikolai Nawrocki of Wayne, PA
Second Place: The Farting Walruses by Yul Choi of Pittsburgh, PA
Third Place: The Girl Who Loved Noodles by Maeve Kotula of Washington, PA
Honorable Mention: A Day in Sugarland by Bella Coleman of Gibsonia, PA

First Place: Animan to the Rescue by Ryan Watterson of Venetia, PA
Second Place: The Butterfly Who Had Bling by Marielle Wilson of Irwin, PA
Third Place: Lia’s Super Happy Move by Lia Kim of Pittsburgh, PA
Honorable Mention: The Tooth That Just Wouldn’t Wiggle by Elizabeth Crossan of McMurray, PA

First Place: Seeds from Space by Connor Smith of Pittsburgh, PA
Second Place: Lopsha and The Trail of Tears by Eva Lutz of Imperial, PA
Third Place: The Bird Who Needed Glasses by Delaney Reddinger of Evans City, PA
Honorable Mention: Mr. Docker’s New Friend by Brooklyn Eastly of Gibsonia, PA


First Place: Trying is Wonderful by Sarah White of Gibsonia, PA
Second Place: The Adventures of Bobby Bookerman by Austin Malley of Venetia, PA
Third Place: The Talking Coat by Lina Fu of Allison Park, PA
Honorable Mention: The Mysterious Person by Tai Kamitani of Allison Park, PA

All finalists were invited to WQED’s Fred Rogers Studio in Oakland today, May 18 to celebrate their efforts. Sixteen First, Second, Third, and Honorable Mention winners had the opportunity to see their stories turned into a puppet play called "Hears" to a Winning Revue!" created and performed by Pittsburgh Puppet Works. The winners’ narration of their stories was recorded and will be broadcast on iQKidsRadio.org and featured on Saturday Light Brigade (SLB) Radio in the summer of 2014. Local winners will now be entered into the national contest where a panel of esteemed judges will rank the top 12 entries.

The national winners will receive prizes courtesy of national prizing sponsor, LeapFrog®, makers of the LeapReader® Reading & Writing System. The contest is also made possible through national promotional support from Highlights for Children®. The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by PBS and based on the Reading Rainbow® Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a concept developed by WNED-TV, Buffalo. For two consecutive years (2012 and 2013), four students from WQED’s regional contest were recognized as winners in the national Contest including three second place winners and one first place winner. To learn more about these and all of WQED’s past winners click here.

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning. Partnering with WQED Pittsburgh this year are Penn State Public Broadcasting (WPSU) which serves central Pennsylvania, West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) and for the first time, witf which serves Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Contest, made possible by local financial support from the EQT Foundation empowers children in grades K-3 to celebrate creativity and build literacy skills by writing and illustrating their very own stories.

About WQED Pittsburgh
WQED Pittsburgh
has a proud history of honors, including 140 National and Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards, an Academy Award, and many, many others, including two Emmy® Awards for Station Excellence. WQED was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. WQED changes lives by creating and sharing outstanding public media that educates, entertains and inspires. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQED Showcase; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqedfm.org; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and iQ: smartmedia, WQED’s Educational initiative (www.wqed.org/edu).

About The EQT Foundation
EQT and the EQT Foundation
are committed to the social and economic vitality of our operating regions. For the past decade, the EQT Foundation has made a difference by supporting local programs and initiatives that involve education, community and economic development, the arts, and the environment. Together with a variety of non-profit organizations, the EQT Foundation develops strong partnerships that enrich the diversity and viability of our communities, sustain the principles of continuous learning, and focus on environmental protection efforts.

About Penn State Public Broadcasting
Penn State Public Broadcasting
serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. Its public media services produce, acquire and distribute programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania.

About West Virginia Public Broadcasting
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
nurtures personal growth, promotes civic responsibility and inspires lifelong discovery through high-quality programming and services. West Virginia Public Radio, West Virginia PBS, wvpubcast.org and Ready To Learn® are all services of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

The Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting is a 501(c)3 organization responsible for receiving donated funds from individuals for annual membership to West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Friends serve as ambassadors in their communities on behalf of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

All of the licenses for West Virginia Public Broadcasting are held by the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, Kay Goodwin, Secretary.

About WITF
Based in Harrisburg, witf is a trusted, valued supplier of programs and services that both satisfy and stimulate curiosity for residents in every community in the central Pennsylvania region. witf broadcast services reach audiences in over 17 counties in central Pennsylvania. The company comprises public broadcasting stations witf TV, witf 89.5 & 93.3, the RadioPA Network , witf.org, witf Educational Services, Top Flight Media, Media Solutions and regional magazine Central PA (published by The Patriot-News in an association with witf). witf’s mission is to strengthen our communities by connecting us to each other and to opportunities for lifelong learning. Its vision is engaging minds, enriching lives, uniquely.

About Saturday Light Brigade
SLB Radio Productions, Inc.
(SLB) uses radio and audio to encourage, amplify, share and archive the ideas, stories, and feelings of children, youth and families. SLB believes in radio and audio because these technologies enable a sense of intimacy, engagement and self-directed imagination that is often lacking in other media, while also promoting opportunities for privacy (given that children need not be photographed), equal access (audio has fewer barriers for participation than other media), and sharpening of important life skills (i.e., speaking and listening, imagination, creative expression, and critical thinking, respect for others, confidence and cooperation, and technical curiosity).

the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About WNED
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, WBFO-FM 88.7 and Classical 94.5 WNED, member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at wned.org.

About LeapFrog
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
is the leader in educational entertainment for children. For nearly 20 years, LeapFrog has created award-winning learning solutions that combine educational expertise, innovative technology and a child's love for fun. With experiences that are personalized to each child's level, LeapFrog helps children achieve their potential through LeapFrog's proprietary learning tablets, learn to read and write systems, interactive learning toys and more, all designed or approved by LeapFrog's full-time in-house team of learning experts. LeapFrog's Learning Path, the ultimate guide for parents on early childhood, is designed specifically to help support and guide their child's learning with personalized ideas and feedback, fun activities and expert advice. LeapFrog is based in Emeryville, California, and was founded in 1995 by a father who revolutionized technology-based learning solutions to help his child learn how to read. Learn more at www.leapfrog.com.

About Highlights for Children, Inc. (www.Highlights.com)
Devoted to "Fun with a Purpose," family media brand Highlights for Children, Inc. (Highlights.com) has helped children become their best selves for generations. Highlights magazines are the best-read children’s magazines in North America, and total more than 250 million impressions each year. In addition to the flagship magazine, Highlights’ other offerings include a preschool magazine (High Five), an infant and toddler magazine (Hello), a children’s book company (Boyds Mills Press), puzzle book clubs and a variety of digital products. Highlights can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at its blog, Highlights Aha!

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George Hazimanolis
Senior Director of
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