Calcasieu students recognized statewide for their penmanship

Students from Calcasieu Parish have been recognized statewide for their excellence in penmanship.

Five students from southwest Louisiana recently received the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Competition Award.

Students presented with the awards were Coby Bertrand, a 1st grader from Gillis Elementary, Bailey Bilodeau, a 2nd grader at Westwood Elementary, Kinley Daigle, a 3rd grader from A. A. Nelson Elementary, David Paul Duhon, a 4th grader at T. S. Cooley Elementary School, and Ce'cile Girard, a 5th grader at T. S. Cooley Elementary.

The handwriting of each contestant was judged to be neat, beautiful, and exceptionally easy to read—a result of excellent letter shape, letter size, letter slant, and overall spacing.

Calcasieu Parish Schools is taking different initiatives to improve the penmanship of all students.

"It just got to be where some of the kids were getting lazy the older they got with their cursive handwriting, so we kind of took initiative," said Shellie Squeskew, Kinley's handwriting teacher at A. A. Nelson Elementary. "We are focusing on improving handwriting, print, manuscript, and cursive."

As technology continues to advance, people are communicating less through pen and paper and more often through typing and text messaging. Now instructors are focusing more on penmanship in the classroom and teaching the importance of good handwriting.

"Handwriting is an important skill we all need to know," said Melanie Harper. "If you can't write well, you're going to have trouble communicating clearly."

Coby Bertrand, a 1st grade winner from Gillis Elementary, said his secret to good handwriting is taking it slow.

"I had the best handwriting because I'm the only one that takes my time," said Bertrand.

Kinley Daigle, a 3rd grade winner from A. A. Nelson, said she learned the importance of excellent penmanship through the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Competition.

"It's important to have good handwriting so that when you move on, you can get better at it," said Daigle.

Each winner received a pen for the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Award. The schools received a $200 credit for their handwriting classrooms.