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Second-Grade Handwriting Champion Beats Out 40,000 To Claim Title

JEFFERSON PARK — Forget communicating by text.

The students at St. Constance School in Jefferson Park are masters of communicating old-school style — with pen and ink.

William Markevich beat out 40,000 other participants in the annual Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest to be named the grand national champion for second grade, school officials said.

William Markevich's winning entry. [St. Constance School]

The Jefferson Park school claimed the top prize in the second-grade competition for the second year in a row. Last year, Emilia Poczatek brought home the trophy and bragging rights.

In addition, third-grade student Phillip Kaczor and seventh-grade student, Ysabelle Pinpin won the state competition in their grades, school officials said.

St. Constance, 5841 W. Strong Ave., celebrated its students' victories at a school assembly Tuesday, officials said.

In its 25th 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 shows that handwriting skills impact a student’s overall literacy development and early fine motor skills that predict later academic achievement," said Donna Schultz, president of Zaner-Bloser, which develops educational programs for schools.

William won a large trophy and $1,000, while the school got $1,000 in educational materials. Second-grade teacher Patti Prokuski won a trip to the International Literacy Association annual conference in St. Louis in July. The school will also display a framed certificate.

In addition, each state winner won $200 in educational materials for the school from Zaner-Bloser.

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