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2014 Marks the Third Year-In-A-Row That WQED Winners Have Placed Nationally

July 28, 2014



2014 Marks the Third Year-In-A-Row That WQED Winners Have Placed Nationally

PITTSBURGH – Today, WQED Pittsburgh announced local winners Nikolai Nawrocki, 5, of Wayne, Pennsylvania and Connor Smith, 8, of Pittsburgh as national winners in the annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest.

The contest was designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning. Nikolai and Connor were chosen as winners from thousands of submissions from 62 participating PBS stations across the country. Nikolai’s winning story, Grandpa Pig’s Pizza, was awarded first place among the Kindergarten entries. Connor’s winning story, Seeds from Space, was awarded third place among the second grade entries. The PBS KIDS Writers Contest also recognizes the nation’s top 50 finalists by posting their stories at pbskids.org/writerscontest. WQED Writers Contest 2014 first place winner in third grade Sarah White, 9 of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania is one of those finalists and her story Trying is Wonderful will be featured on the site as well.

“WQED has utilized the PBS KIDS Writers Contest for the past 20 years to help children build valuable literacy skills for success in school and life, and it’s great to see local children in our community nationally recognized as winners once again,” said Deborah L. Acklin, WQED President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Contest, made possible in part 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. The national winners will receive prizes courtesy of national prizing sponsor LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. Winners will receive a prize package that will include LeapFrog’s award-winning LeapReader Reading and Writing System along with educator-developed LeapReader books, maps and more to help children on every step of their reading and writing journey.

“The EQT Foundation would like to congratulate Nikolai, Connor, and Sarah for being recognized nationally for their writing and drawing skills. As a supporter of the WQED Writers Contest for the past five years, the EQT Foundation is pleased to have helped WQED reach more than 7,000 students in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to develop and improve their literacy skills,” said Ellen Rossi, Community Relations and Event Manager, EQT.

This is the third year-in-a-row that WQED winners have placed nationally. 2013 marked the first time in WQED Contest history that a local student placed first nationally when Haruka Doi, then 7 of Pittsburgh was recognized for her story called, Willie and Hannah. Cricket Branstrom, then 7 of first grade also placed third last year for her story called, Little Possom’s Big Adventure. In 2012, Ella Black, then 6 of North Huntingdon and Daniel Trimble, then 8 of Brookline both placed second while in Kindergarten and third grade respectively for their stories called, Abby the Talking Giraffe and, The Mystery of the Attic Intruder.

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 Broadcastin
g 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, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970, the 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. 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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