JEFFERSON PARK — Step aside, emojis.
The students at St. Constance School in Jefferson Park are masters of communicating old-school style — by hand.
Emilia Poczatek beat out 300,000 other participants in the annual Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest to be named the Grand National Champion for second grade, school officials said.
In addition, St. Constance students David Faber, Natalie Pawelko, Ysabelle Pinpin and Claudia Irene Cisek finished first in the state handwriting competitions for their grade levels, school officials said.
St. Constance, 5841 W. Strong Ave., celebrated its students' victories at a school assembly last week, officials said.
In its 24th year, the National Handwriting Contest is sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting.
Students are judged on the Zaner-Bloser Keys to Legibility: shape, size, spacing and slant. Students in kindergarten through second grade submitted manuscript, or printed, entries, while students in third- through eighth-grade submitted entries in cursive.
"Research continues to show that students can benefit from putting pencil to paper as early as pre-K when it comes to developing literacy and fine motor skills," said Bob Page, president of Zaner-Bloser, which develops educational programs for schools.
Emilia won a large trophy and $1,000, while the school got $1,000 in educational materials. Second-grade teacher Patricia Prokuski won a trip to the International Literacy Association annual conference in St. Louis in July. The school will also display a framed, handcrafted certificate by Zaner-Bloser master penman Michael Sull.
In addition, each state winner won $200 in educational materials for the school from Zaner-Bloser.
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