Our Lady of Victory Catholic School seventh-grader Benjie Corpuz is well-written with the write stuff.

“It’s archaic; no one really does it anymore,” said Benjie, 12. “It’s handwriting – it’s nothing special; it’s simple.”

He was named the grand national grade-level champion in Zaner-Bloser’s 2018 National Handwriting Contest. Benjie will be recognized May 25 by the contest’s representative at his school’s award ceremony for his achievement.

Another OLV student, Camryn Petru, 14, won the state title for the eighth grade.

More than 280,000 public and private school students participated in this year’s contest that required kindergarten though second-grade students to submit print entries, while third-grade through eighth-grade students submit cursive entries.

Selection is based on the Zaner-Bloser criteria of shape, size, spacing and slant, each tested in the submission’s legibility and written components. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” is the sentence contestants were required to write because it has all 26 letters of the alphabet.

“It feels nice,” Benjie said about winning.

He submitted his winning entry on his second try after his teacher asked them to practice.

“She only gave us one copy,” he said about his carefully crafted submission.

Benjie said his tip for perfect penmanship is not to smudge the writing.

Camryn has the top penmanship over all other Texas eighth-graders. She was chosen as a state winner for her grade level.

“It comes natural,” said Camryn, 14, about her handwriting. Her handwriting tip to other students is to tilt the paper to help slant the letters and hold the paper with one hand for smoothness.

Sister Laura Toman, principal, said her school supports cursive education.

“Some children come in and can’t read it,” Toman said. “It’s part of the curriculum that’s lost.”

For the written component, participants responded to the question: “How does your handwriting make you a better reader and writer, and why is this important?”

For Benjie, the picture is clearer.

“Handwriting helps when reading and writing by making words neat and easy to read,” he said.

For Camryn, handwriting makes a better reader.

“My handwriting makes me a better reader and writer because it makes my writing unique, and I can read what other people write,” she said. “This is important because people rarely use penmanship now.”

Gabriella Canales reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at gcanales@vicad.com or 361-580-6578.

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Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

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