It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and several award-winning Buncombe County students are taking this principle to heart in their fight against youth violence. Across the nation over 70,000 middle school students participate in the Do the Write Thing campaign, which involves examining the causes and effects of youth violence and writing essays about solutions.
During last night’s combined awards ceremony with Asheville City Schools, six students from Buncombe County Schools were announced as essay finalists, with North Buncombe Middle 8th grader Laykesnow Concannon named as our National Do the Write Thing Ambassador. Four teachers were also recognized for efforts alongside their finalists.
Laykesnow received a standing ovation when she read her emotional and honest essay, “With No One to Listen.” The eighth-grader hopes her writing will help those who feel scared and trapped share their voices with one another. To those who have experienced violence, she said, “don’t hold your feelings back - even if you feel guilty about having them.”
Concannon will represent the school system during the upcoming National Campaign to Stop Violence in Washington, D.C.
Here is an excerpt from Laykesnow's winning essay:
“With no one to listen people become vain.
With no one to listen people become violent.
With no one to listen people become silent.
But maybe I could help,
Maybe we could all help,
If we only stop acting ignorant of others feelings
And make it so everyone has someone to listen.”
Albena Pivovar, 6th grade, Koontz Intermediate (not pictured)
Jewelian King, 7th grade, Erwin Middle
Daesean Lowe, 7th grade, Erwin Middle
Molly Barnes, 8th grade, North Buncombe Middle
Isabel Schmidt, 8th grade, North Buncombe Middle
Laykesnow Concannon, 8th grade, North Buncombe Middle (Overall winner)
Delana Parker, Koontz Intermediate
Rachel Reaves, Erwin Middle
Benjamin Urfer, Erwin Middle
Kerri Hampton, North Buncombe Middle
Learn more about the Do the Write Thing campaign.