For the third year in a row, Southeast Bulloch Middle School dominated the competition in which students from each of the county's four public middle schools competed, the 27th Annual Nan Rushing Write-Off. Organizers presented 67 awards to Bulloch County's sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Students from SEBMS took home each of the most prestigious Top- Grade Awards in addition to the Overall Winner Award.
Nearly 200 students from SEBMS, Portal Middle High School, Langston Chapel Middle School and William James Middle School competed in seven categories including capitalization/punctuation, mental concentration, writing, language expression, vocabulary, spelling, and usage. In five of the events students completed multiple-choice exams that were then scored electronically. For the mental concentration and composition competitions, judges hand-scored the entries.
"We have extremely high standards for our students at SEBMS. That, coupled with great enthusiasm for learning from both students and teachers, creates an environment for success at our school," said Cindy Oliver, SEBMS language arts teacher. "I am proud to see all of the students in Bulloch County striving to reach their academic best in language arts." Oliver, along with SEBMS language arts teachers, Janine Deal and Terry Rushing organized the event.
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. Wynn joined Rushing on stage this year during the event's award ceremony.
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 others have helped support the write-off through the years after the initial grant ended. Volunteers and business sponsors are welcome to assist with the annual competition.