Bulloch County Schools capped off Read Across America Week, with its annual language arts competition, the Nan Rushing Write-Off, at Southeast Bulloch High School.  In its 36th year, students from the district’s four middle schools, Southeast Bulloch (SEBMS), Portal (PMHS), Langston Chapel (LCMS), and William James (WJMS), competed in eight categories. 

The event began at 8 a.m. and ended with an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in the Southeast Bulloch High School auditorium with faculty, family and friends. The event’s namesake, Nan Rushing, addressed students and guests and commended the students for their dedication to excellence in language arts by forfeiting part of their Saturday to compete and stressed the importance of doing one’s best in language arts as it is the foundation for all learning.

Awards were given to the top-two scoring individuals in each category, overall school grade-level teams, and the overall competition winner. For the fifth year, the event was sponsored by Barr Law Group of Statesboro, whose generous support provided trophies for the winners.

Students competed as individuals in eight English language arts categories including persuasive speech, narrative writing, vocabulary, usage/language expression, spelling, mental concentration, capitalization/punctuation, and persuasive writing. Their individual scores and placements earned points for an overall school team score. 

The competition was started in 1985 by then language arts teacher Nan Rushing, who had received a $1,000 mini-grant from the school system to begin a writing event in Nevils.  Of the 10 mini-grants awarded in 1985, by former School Superintendent Ed Wynn, the Nan Rushing Write-off and the Penny Sikes Math Tournament are the two remaining programs that have stood the test of time and offered a valuable tool for encouraging students in math and language arts.

Rushing was an educator for 37 years. The Write-Off was named in her honor in 2008. Businesses and civic groups like Excelsior EMC, Brooklet Kiwanis, local banks, and now the Barr Law Group have helped support the write-off through the years after the initial grant ended.

See below for a list of this year’s winners.

Credit: Canva

Overall Winner

Southeast Bulloch Middle School

Grade Level Winners

Sixth Grade: Southeast Bulloch Middle School
Seventh Grade: Southeast Bulloch Middle School
Eighth Grade: (Tie) Southeast Bulloch Middle School and William James Middle School

Persuasive Speech

Sixth Grade: Charlotte Bridges, first-place, SEBMS; Joshua Vogt, second-place, LCMS
Seventh Grade: Dane Gardner, first-place, SEBMS; Claire Burton, second-place, LCMS.
Eighth Grade: Z. Barron, first-place, WJMS; Quinn Stoy, second-place, SEBMS.     

Narrative Writing

Sixth Grade: Christina Zheng, first-place, WJMS; Savannah Smith, second-place, LCMS
Seventh Grade: Emma Hilde, first-place, SEBMS; Christina Pacheco, second-place, SEBMS
Eighth Grade: Maylin Swint, first-place, SEBMS; Chanel Hunt, second-place, LCMS.

Persuasive Writing

Sixth Grade: Janie Cowan, first-place, SEBMS; Sienna Fox, second-place; SEBMS
Seventh Grade: Sarah Reddin, first-place, SEBMS; Ella Faith Rountree, second-place, SEBMS
Eighth Grade: Isley Simpkins, first-place, LCMS; Stephanie Mendoza, second-place, SEBMS.


Sixth Grade: Reagan Ellis, first-place, SEBMS; William Gibbs, second-place, SEBMS
Seventh Grade: Justine Wu, first-place, SEBMS; Ashley Avera, second-place, SEBMS
Eighth Grade: Maggie O’Neill, first-place, WJMS; Carter Noel, second-place, WJMS.

Usage & Language Expression

Sixth Grade: Sandra Ngatia, first-place, SEBMS; Jackson Lewis, second-place, WJMS
Seventh Grade: Reagan Sams, first-place, WJMS; Ohm Pandya, second-place, SEBMS
Eighth Grade: Hannah Braddock, first-place, WJMS; John Toole, second-place, SEBMS.


Sixth Grade: Emily Johnson, first-place, SEBMS; Sierra Skrak, second-place, LCMS
Seventh Grade: Amy Kersey, first-place, SEBMS; Samuel Braverman, second-place, PMHS
Eighth Grade: Woelinam Gato, first-place, SEBMS; Cannon Thompson, second-place, PMHS.

Capitalization & Punctuation

Sixth Grade: Dallie Youmans, first-place, LCMS; Jackson Lewis, second-place, WJMS
Seventh Grade: Taylor Gerig, first-place, LCMS; Phoebe Hansen, second-place, LCMS
Eighth Grade: Jaryn Skinner, first-place, LCMS; Caleb Johnson, second-place, SEBMS.

Mental Concentration

Sixth Grade: Natalie von Waldner, first-place, WJMS; Austin Wheaton, second-place, WJMS
Seventh Grade: Andrew Martin, first-place, WJMS; Xaina Lorden, second-place, LCMS
Eighth Grade: Maggie O’Neill, first-place, WJMS; William Holley, second-place, SEBMS.