Sarah Sakowitz

Sarah Sakowitz is one of 27 finalists in the 2020 WQED Writers Contest.

Upper St. Clair

• A Streams Elementary first-grader is one of 27 finalists in the 2020 WQED Writers Contest. Seven-year-old Sarah Sakowitz’s story, “The Girl with the Most Beautiful Smile,” was selected from among nearly 1,000 entries from throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

The public is invited to vote for the “Reader’s Choice Winner” from June 12-19. All finalists’ stories will be available to read and listen to via WQED’s Writers Contest page at

A student in Katie Hendrickson’s class at Streams Elementary, Sarah found great humor in a couple of experiences that inspired her latest story.

“Just like Susie Strobwary, the main character in the story, I had spaces in my mouth. Since then, my permanent teeth have grown in, but left me with another problem: My front teeth are too big for my face,” she said. “So one day, I drew a caricature of myself with an exaggerated smile. It made me laugh out loud for a long time.”

Sarah was also a finalist in the 2019 WQED Writers Contest. Her story, “The Dragonfly That Lived,” finished third. In addition to writing, she has earned honors for artwork through the school district’s annual Arts In USC contest, finishing first in her school in 2019-20 and second district-wide in 2018-19.

“I like writing because I get to draw pictures. Usually, I draw the pictures after writing, but in this story I drew the picture first,” Sarah said. “It also makes me appreciate all the hard work authors do to write the books in the library that I love to read.”

Winners of the 2020 WQED Writers Contest will be announced at a virtual celebration and awarded prizes including the opportunity to record their winning story. Their recordings will be broadcast on and featured on Saturday Light Brigade (SLB) Radio in the summer of 2020. K-5 and STEM winners’ stories will be made into an original puppet show that will be shown at the Virtual Celebration by Pittsburgh Puppet Works.

• Seven Upper St. Clair High School students were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society on May 15. The students are enrolled in programs at Parkway West Career and Technology Center.

Inductees include senior Lucas Gillespie; juniors Gabrielle Caudill, Ethan Hanson and Madison Jordan; and sophomores Ariana Braughler, Michael Gualterieri and Sten Wheeler.

To be eligible for induction, students must have completed a full year at Parkway West, have five or fewer unexcused absences, achieved an A average in their tech program and a B or higher in their academic classes, and successfully participate in an interview process. Inductees should embody seven attributes: leadership, scholarship, skills, honesty, citizenship, service and responsibility.

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