BCTE writing contest cancelled

The Brevard Country Teachers of English writing contest, more commonly known as “BCTE,” will no longer be an avenue for aspiring writers to submit their works for publication.

“I’m actually really disappointed,” said previous contest winner Tryphina Mikhail, a senior. “BCTE was one of the few opportunities that ambitious writers had to submit a multitude of genres and get feedback on their work. It brought that element of self-motivation to the table that almost always ensured quality submissions from people who actually wanted to express something of value.”

While saddened, English teachers Adrienne Gent and Lisa Rehm express understanding as to why it was chosen to forgo the contest this year.

“I think it’s a loss in the sense that it deprives the students of real writing situations and opportunities for publication,” Rehm said, “However, with the amount of responsibilities that English teachers are having, it is becoming increasingly difficult to organize the writing contest.”

The new standards require teachers to spend time on test score follow-ups, meetings,and curriculum, all which take up time that may be used to for enrichment, according to Gent, who teaches creative writing.

“The creative things will be put on the chopping block when it comes down to it,” Gent said.

As previous normal procedure for “BCTE,” English teachers would chose the top three submissions for each level, which was broken up into middle school, ninth and 10th grade, and then 11th and 12th grade. Those submissions would then be sent to “BCTE” to be judged, with the winners earning publication in the annual magazine put out by “BCTE.”

The departure of “BCTE” will also affect the “Alter Ego,” literary magazine.

“BCTE was a major channel for literary submissions for ‘Alter Ego,’ and with its cancellation, we now have to seek some other source of  inspired writing,” Mikhail said.

However, as replacement for the loss of “BCTE,” West Shore may be holding a school-wide writing competition, for those students who were interested in “BCTE.”

“I always look for different writing contests outside Brevard, and there is some talk that English Honor Society will take over a school level writing contest, that follows ‘BCTE’ guidelines,” Mikhail said. “Ultimately, however, kids are stressed out, teachers are stressed out, and we may just not have time for it.”

By Molly Minta