List of 20 news stories.

  • The Birchwood School of Hawken Power of the Pen team.

    Birchwood 7th & 8th Graders Scribe Their Way to Success at Power of the Pen Districts

    Birchwood School of Hawken students let their ink do the talking at the Power of the Pen Northern Region District 2 competition as both of their teams earned top-three honors. Birchwood’s eighth-grade team won first overall while the seventh grade placed third overall.

    Around 180 students representing 22 area schools competed at the tournament, held on Saturday, Feb. 17, at St. Raphael Catholic School, in Bay Village.

    Each Birchwood team was made up of six members with one or two alternates designated for each team. In all, Birchwood School of Hawken brought 15 students to the tournament.
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  • Pair of Birchwood Students Place in Stone Soup Magazine Contest

    Two Birchwood School of Hawken seventh-graders earned recognition from Stone Soup magazine for December entries in its monthly Flash Fiction writing contest. Chrysanthi Constantinou’s entry earned Winner honors and Andrew Khawam earned Honorable Mention for the same age category. 
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  • Birchwood Alums Attending Hawken Match as Questbridge Scholars

    Congratulations to Birchwood Class of '20 alumni and current Hawken Upper School juniors Andres Moreno, Quiwen Wu, and Rebecca Chin. All three matched with a prospective college from the Questbridge Program.

    The program provides a full-ride scholarship, including tuition, room and board, and all fees. In addition, there is a mentorship network that supports the students in and out of college. 
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  • Birchwood Power of the Pen Team Places Second in Ohio

    Birchwood School of Hawken’s 2023 Power of the Pen (POP) team wrote its way to rewards at the recent State of Ohio tournament, returning with a second-place overall finish as well as a handful more accolades earned by its seventh- and eighth-grade scribes. 
    Other Birchwood student winners are: 
    Individual Award    Joshua Gordon, 8th grade      11th Place 
    State Platinum Pen Awards
    Reeve Vincent, 7th grade, for “War and Blood”
    Joshua Gordon, 8th grade, for “Why?” and “So Much More”
    * Both are eligible for publication in Power of the Pen’s annual Book of Winners, determined from regional Best of Round.
    Birchwood’s student team is coached by language arts specialists Lorraine Tzeng, Jennifer Seward, and Allison Noga.
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  • Joshua Gordon is Named Promising Young Writer

    Joshua Gordon, an eighth grade student at Birchwood School of Hawken received First Class distinction for his writing "Only a Game" and was recognized as a 2023 Promising Young Writer by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

    This year, schools nominated 146 students to participate in the Promising Young Writers Program. Of those, 56 were selected to receive the First Class designation, 58 received the Superior designation, 27 received the Excellent designation, and 5 received the Merit designation. Students had to submit original works based on the prompt: Revision as Life: Ourselves, Worlds, and Perceptions Two to three independent judges evaluated each submission holistically on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.
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  • Twenty-Two Students Win at National History Day State Competition

    On Saturday, April 22, 2023, twenty-two Birchwood students traveled to Ohio Wesleyan University for the state level of the National History Day competition. With over 400 students from 40 different schools, the competition was challenging but the results were outstanding, with 15 Birchwood of Hawken students qualifying for the national level of the competition which will be held the week of June 11, 2023 at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. With national qualifiers in almost every category, the students’ hard work to improve their projects following the regional competition resulted in strong finishes. The first and second place finishers in each category advance to the national competition. 
    In the Historical Paper category, 8th grader Haadeya placed 2nd. She also received the National Maritime Historical Award for her paper focused on the Erie Canal. In the Individual Documentary category, Birchwood students captured both national qualifying spots. Placing first was 8th grader Joshua G. with his project on the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and how it tamed the lawless frontier of food and drug production. Seventh grader Joshua T. placed second. His topic was Dr. John Snow, who started the field of epidemiology with his investigation of a cholera outbreak in London, England in the mid-1800s. In the Group Documentary category, 7th graders Arav and Suryan placed second with their project on Enrico Fermi, who created the first nuclear reactor. Receiving an honorable mention were 6th graders Andrew and Brian for their documentary on America’s use of deception to fool the German military in WWII. 
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  • Student Reaches Finals of 2023 Bluefire $1,000 with 1,000 Words Contest

    Congratulations to Niko Alicea for making it to the final round in the 2023 Bluefire $1,000 for 1,000 words contest. His story, titled "WWI," is an action-packed piece told from the perspective of a German soldier who encounters a terrifying new invention in warfare: the tank. A member of the editorial committee commended Niko for his writing, stating that "Our judges thought your story was well written and praised it for moving logically from the beginning to the end." Visit,, to read Niko's story.

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  • Students Soar at Future Problem Solving State Competition

    This year, 19 Birchwood 6th-8th grade students placed at the Future Problem Solving (FPS) State Bowl. Each year students compete either in scenario writing - imagining specific problems and solutions the future may hold – or as teams of four or individuals who apply a six-step model which teaches critical and creative thinking, and problem solving. The following students, coached by Helene Debelak, Rebecca Graham, Diane Owen, Jennifer Seward, Allison Noga, and Lorraine Tzeng, placed at the state level:

    Junior Division Scenario Writing
    Chrysanthi Constantinou (6th grader of Westlake) - 1st place*
    Middle Division Scenario Writing
    Ayat Jaffar (8th grader) - 1st place*
    Haadeya Salman (8th grader) - 2nd place
    Joshua Gordon (8th grader) – 3rd place
    Manya Raina (8th grader) - 4th place
    Joshua Thomas (7th grade) - 5th place
    Junior Individual
    Danyaal Khan (6th grader) - 2nd place*
    Presentation of Action Plan (skit)
    Brian Milindi, Zora Asalu, Nelson Kude, Samuel Chen, Jake Zhang - 2nd place
    Joshua Gordon, Manya Raina, Ted Alten - 1st place

    Junior Division Team Awards
    6th graders: Kritika Chahar (Brecksville), Chrysanthi Constantinou, Caleb Alicea (Cleveland), Nathan Chilcote (Cleveland) - 1st place*
    Middle Division Team Awards
    7th graders: Reeve Vincent, Maliha Nadkarni, Kyle Vaziri, Olivia Kude - 4th place
    8th graders: Joshua Gordon, Manya Raina, Ted Alten - 2nd place*
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  • Outstanding Achievement: Three Students in the Top 1% Nationwide

    Arav Bhandari, Joshua Gordon, and Manya Raina have achieved a perfect score in this year's Continental Mathematics Competition, earning them the title of National Student Winners and placing them among the top 1% of students in the country. To attain this feat, the students had to complete five 30-minute tests over the course of the school year.

    Melisa Stalnaker, a math teacher for Birchwood's 5th-8th grade students, commended the students for their exemplary performance, stating that they had set a remarkable example for their peers. She added that the students' commitment to learning, dedication to practice, and perseverance in preparation had resulted in this commendable accomplishment. Stalnaker expressed great pride in the students' achievement, noting that it was remarkable to have three students receive perfect scores.
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  • Second Grade Student Wins Entrepreneur Challenge

    Juliet Lu, a second grader at Birchwood School of Hawken, has been selected to be featured in the Finalist Showcase for the NEO Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge sponsored by Young Entrepreneur Institute. Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge is a contest for students in Northeast Ohio in grades K-12. It is a simple set of activities that helps kids learn creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and presentation skills.

    For this challenge, Juliet had to devise a solution to a problem and then develop a pitch for that solution. Juliet's idea was to create the "Squirt Saver'', a device that would help people use less product from pump bottles, such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap. 
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  • Student Wins National Scholastic Writing Award

    8th grader, Joshua Gordon, won a National Gold Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for his flash fiction story "For Civilization." His work was one of 300,000 submissions by more than 100,000 students in the middle and high school art and writing competition, which places his story in the top 1 percent in the country. His story will be published in Scholastic's online gallery.

    His original creation is set in Colorado in 1864. This historical fiction piece is told from the perspective of a private in the cavalry that would carry out the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. In one brutal moment, the character evolves from faithful conviction in his mission to one of awakened horror and resolve. Click here to read the full story.

    Jennifer Seward, one of Birchwood's language arts teachers, spoke of this outstanding accomplishment in this way, Joshua's talent as a young writer is formidable, and his grasp of the writing process is astoundingly mature. He fearlessly confronts the challenges of conceiving a worthy storyline, writing with precision, and revising without mercy. In this piece, Joshua's knowledge of history, storytelling prowess, and skill with language coalesce, which is no accident. He relentlessly practices his craft to improve.

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  • Birchwood Students Flex Brain Muscles At Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair

    Birchwood School of Hawken’s seventh and eighth graders brought home several top three trophies as well as a variety of special awards while competing at the 70th annual Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF), held March 13-16, at Cleveland State University.

    Birchwood’s eighth graders earned a trio of second-place finishes, as well as a pair of third-place and honorable mention placements. The school’s seventh-graders delivered first-place and third-place rankings, along with an honorable mention.  

    Results and special awards earned by the Birchwood School of Hawken students are:

    Seventh Graders
    Leen Salem – 1st Place: “The Amount of Electrolytes in Advertised Energy Drinks.”
    Joshua Thomas – 3rd Place: “Which Form of Fruit Causes the Least Spike in Blood Sugar?”
    Reeve Vincent – Honorable Mention: “Which Pain Reliever has the Fastest Dissolution Time: Brand or Generic?”
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  • Beautiful Penmanship is Alive

    Birchwood School of Hawken student Mina G. (2nd grade) earned the honor of representing her grade level in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. As a State Grade-Level Winner, Mina’s manuscript submission can be chosen as one of the 18 National Grade-Level Semifinalists. Gountas won a medal and a journal for this achievement. 

    The Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest annually rewards outstanding manuscript and cursive skills of Kindergarten through eighth-grade students and teachers who understand the importance of handwriting for developing literacy. Almost 80,000 students have put pencil to paper this year to participate in the most prestigious handwriting contest in the United States. 
  • Thirty-Eight Students Qualify for the Future Problem Solving State Bowl

    This year, 38 Birchwood 6th-8th grade students qualified for the Future Problem Solving (FPS) State Bowl. Each year Birchwood 6th-8th grade students apply a six-step model which teaches critical and creative thinking, and problem solving to qualify as individuals or teams composed of four students. 

    The following students, coached by Helene Debelak, Lorraine Tzeng, Diane Owen, Jennifer Seward, Rebecca Graham and Allison Noga will compete at the state level on April 11th:

    Junior Division Qualifiers
    Folashade Asalu, Samuel Chen, Nelson Kude, Jake Zhang, Kritika Chahar
    Caleb Alicea, Nathan Chilcote, Chrysanthi Constantinou, Andrew Khawam, Brian Milindi
    Intermediate Division Team Qualifiers
    Joshua Gordon, Ted Alten, Manya Raina
    Sabrina Syed, Sana Bahadur, Ayat Jaffar, Yara Salam, Aislinn Joyce
    Ishika Chand, Haadeya Salman, Caroline Lu, Joshua Chen, Stella Miyares
    Leen Salem, Joshua Thomas, Rhea Kumar, Sammy Nemr, Ayah Dinary
    Maliha Nadkarni, Olivia Kude, Kyle Vaziri, Reeve Vincent, Saanvi Chari
    Zain Daoud, Divyam Purohit, Alex Ticak, Nikhil Yalavarthy, Hussein Alzoubi
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  • Birchwood Students Soar at National History Day Competition

    On Saturday, March 4, 2023, despite blustery winds, 51 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders ventured out to the Cleveland History Center in University Circle to compete in the regional level of the National History Day competition. Due to the pandemic, this was the first in-person History Day competition since 2020, and the students' excitement was palpable. With entries in every project category, they had high hopes for the outcome.  Birchwood had a total of 30 projects entered into the competition, and 14 of them qualified to advance to the state competition. This strong showing was the result of months of diligent research and preparation. Below are the students who will compete at Ohio Wesleyan University on April 22 and possibly earn an invitation to attend the national competition in June 2023.
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  • Power of the Pen Regional Winners

    Congratulations to Birchwood School of Hawken’s seventh and eighth grade teams who won several team, individual, and special awards at the 2023 Power of the Pen Regional Tournament at Kent State University on February 25.

    The Birchwood teams are coached by Lorraine Tzeng, Jennifer Seward, and Allison Noga.
    Team Awards
    Eighth Grade – 1st Place
    Seventh Grade – 4th Place
    Regional Sweepstakes Award – 1st Place (third consecutive year)
    Individual and Special Awards
    Seventh Grade:   
    Rhea Kumar – 7th Place
    Reeve Vincent – 1st Place
    Eighth Grade:
    Haadeya Salman – 12th Place 
    Joshua Gordon – 7th Place
    Best of Round – Joshua Gordon 
    Best of Round – Ayat Jaffar 
    Platinum Pen – Joshua Gordon 
    Platinum Pen – Ayat Jaffar 
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  • Birchwood Team Finished Third at MATHCOUNTS Chapter Round

    At the 2023 Northeast Ohio MATHCOUNTS Chapter Round on February 18, the Birchwood School of Hawken team consisting of Ishika Chand, Caroline Lu, Haadeya Salman, Arav Bhandari, Joshua Gordon, Manya Raina, Jonathan Samulak, Ayat Jaffar, Nikhil Yalavarthy, and John Gordon placed 3rd out of the nine participating teams. Individually, Joshua Gordon placed 4th, and John Gordon placed 11th. Joshua will advance to the state competition on March 11 at Columbus State Community College. 
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  • Birchwood School Third Grader Behind Civil Rights Icon's Visit

    Birchwood School of Hawken welcomed the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., a genuine Civil Rights living legend, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, thanks to the charm of one of its third-grade students. When Moss Jr., 88, met the young Woodrow Johnson, the pair hit it off and Moss asked to visit the boy’s school.

    Johnson, elected by his student peers as the “Mayor of the Third Grade,” had the honor of introducing Moss Jr., who brought wise words and even a little musical inspiration to the school’s students, staff, and parents in attendance.
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  • Birchwood Students Place High at Power of the Pen District Tournament

    Twelve seventh and eighth grade Birchwood School of Hawken students flexed their creative expression at the recent Power of the Pen Northeast District 2 Tournament held Jan. 21 at Ashland Middle School.

    Under the direction of language arts teachers Lorraine Tzeng, Jennifer Seward and Allison Noga, Birchwood students placed high in both the individual and team components. 

    Birchwood’s seventh grade and eighth grade teams each took second place overall. Individual eight grade qualifier Ayat Jaffar placed fourth. Individual seventh grade qualifiers are: Saanvi Chari, third place; and Rhea Kumar, sixth place.
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  • Birchwood Scholastic Award Winners

    Birchwood School of Hawken proudly announces that eight of its students earned regional writing recognition from the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. All of the Birchwood winners are in the eighth grade.

    Taught by language arts subject specialists Lorraine Tzeng and Jennifer Seward, the Birchwood students garnered two Gold Key, one Silver Key and five Honorable Mention awards.

    The winning students from Birchwood are:
    • Joshua Gordon received a Gold Key for his Flash Fiction (up to 1,400 words) entry titled “For Civilization.”
    • Ashton Khoury’s Flash Fiction entry “The Love for the Game” earned him Gold Key honors.
    • Caroline Lu won a Silver Key in the Personal Essay & Memoir category for her piece, “Atropa Belladonna.”
    • Ishika Chand earned Honorable Mention honors for her Short Story entry “A Name is More Than a Label.”
    • Honorable Mention status went to Ayat Jaffar for her Personal Essay & Memoir submission, “An Everlasting Friendship.”
    • Stephen Parrino took home an Honorable Mention in the Science Fiction & Fantasy category for his story “Bland Land.”
    • Science Fiction & Fantasy entry “The Escape” earned an Honorable Mention for Haadeya Salman.
    • Jonathan Samulak brought home an Honorable Mention in the Science Fiction & Fantasy category for his story “Imagine You Were Dan.”
    Works are judged on originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice.
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