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La Jolla High students in national WordWright competition

Eleventh graders from La Jolla High placed 12th out of 582 school teams in the recent WordWright Challenge competition.

Junior Trevor Menders, who made just one mistake during the meet, was ranked as one of the 63 highest-scoring 11th graders in the nation. More than 58,000 students from around the world participated.

The WordWright Challenge is a national reading competition for students in grades 9-12 that requires analytical reading of many kinds of prose and poetry. It emphasizes perceptive interpretation, sensitivity to language, and an appreciation of style. More than 54,000 students from public and private high schools in 46 states and 4 foreign nations participated last year.

La Jolla's students were supervised by Jewel Weien, a La Jolla English teacher. She has 84 juniors and 39 sophomores participating in this year's competition, which continues in February.

The program helps students prepare for the SAT and other tests by giving students a short text, then asking a series of questions based on the text. The texts for this challenge were: for grades 9-10, an essay by Peggy Orenstein, paired with a thematically related sonnet by William Wordsworth; and, for grades 11-12, an excerpt from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in two more WordWright meets during the coming months. Medals and certificates will be awarded in June to students who not only have the top scores, but progress the most during the course of the year.

For more information on the La Jolla program, contact Principal Dana Shelburne at