Peters and Shelenberger receive awards at YSU English Festival

Amanda Crowl, staff writer


Sophomore Haiku Peters

Nine Saegertown students traveled to Youngstown, Ohio on April 10 to participate in the 41st annual YSU English Festival. Over 1,000 students with a passion for English and writing gathered to show off their skills in various competitions and meet famous authors.

Students met with writers like Neal Shusterman (“Thunderhead,” “Unwind”) and Steve Sheinkin (“The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights,” “Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team”).

“I look forward to the YSU Festival every year,” said librarian Betty Litke. “It is a great experience for the kids to meet authors and new kids. The authors relate to the kids and connect with them.”

Senior Ben Shelenberger and his team took second in “Not So Trivial Pursuit,” while sophomore Haiku Peters placed ninth out of 500 in an impromptu essay writing contest. “I was very surprised and I did not expect to win at all,” Peters said about her win.


Senior Ben Shelenberger

Junior Sam Shelenberger attended a journalism workshop and had the chance to interview Shusterman. “It was a unique experience to be able to interview someone of his caliber,” Shelenberger said. “Last year I interviewed Laurie Halse Anderson, and this year I interviewed Shusterman. It was cool because I’m huge fans of both.”

Saegertown’s ninth year participating in the YSU English Festival was considered a success by all who attended. “I hope to see more people from Saegertown go in the future,” Shelenberger said. “It’s such a fun experience to see so many peoples from different places who are enthusiastic about literature.”

YSU English Festival registration due next week

By Morgan Radwick, design editor

YSU English Festival

The YSU Festival will be held on April 10, 2019. 

As many Saegertown students may remember, senior Ben Shelenburger got his arm signed by author Laurie Halse Anderson at the YSU (Youngstown State University) English Festival last year, and this year will no doubt be equally as exciting.

Any student in grades 9-12 can attend the festival which will be held April 10, 2019 at YSU. Students will have a chance to meet famous authors Neal Shusterman and Steve Sheinkin and take part in various literature-based activities with students from Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

The YSU English Festival was founded in 1978 by Professor Thomas Gay and Dr. Carol Gay of Youngstown State University’s Department of English in memory of their daughter Candace who passed away from cancer when she was thirteen years old.

According to the YSU News Room, more than 100,000 juniors and seniors from high schools in more than 300 districts have attended since the festival’s founding 41 years ago.

To participate in the activities, students must read all seven of the required books: Thunderhead, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, and Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steven Shienkin, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, and Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. All activities in the festival relate to the books listed.

In addition to the festival activities, there are also three optional pre-festival contests: The Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest, The Festival Art Contest, and The Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music award.

The fee to participate is $30 per student, which pays for bus transportation and festival registration. Permission slips and full payment are due to librarian Betty Litke by Wednesday, October 24. More details about the festival can be found on the YSU English Festivals’ website or from Mrs. Litke.