Winners announced in 2014 national writing contest

Winners will receive $500 or a trip to career exploration camp

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Four students have been named winners in RIT’s SpiRIT Writing Contest for deaf or hard-of-hearing high school students, sponsored by Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Dozens of entries, which included a short writing sample and an essay or report, were received from across the country.

The winners have the option of a $500 prize or a scholarship and travel expenses to RIT’s Explore Your Future career exploration camp on the Rochester, N.Y., campus. EYF is a six-day summer program that offers deaf and hard-of-hearing students opportunities to sample different careers and college life.

The winners are:

  • Nikolya Sereda, who is in 11th grade at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass. She wrote “By the Sea: The Unceasing Industry of America’s Favorite Costume.”
  • Noah Blankenship, who is in 11th grade at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass. He wrote “Deaf President Now: A Movement Modeled on the 1960’s Civil Rights Platform.”
  • Nathan Grizenko, who is in 10th grade at Centerburg High School in Centerburg, Ohio. He wrote “Loyalty from the Heart.”
  • Caleb Litster, who is in 10th grade at Ames High School in Ames, Iowa. He wrote “The Natural Tendency of Mankind” and “Seeing is Hearing.”

NTID, one of nine colleges of RIT, was established by Congress in 1965 to provide college opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who were underemployed in technical fields. Today, 1,432 students attend NTID; more than 1,250 are deaf or hard of hearing. Others are hearing students enrolled in interpreting or deaf education programs. NTID’s Center on Employment assists NTID students with finding co-op and permanent jobs. More than 100 interpreters, tutors and notetakers support students in and out of the classroom. Visit: