Gripping the Gold

Gripping the Gold

Ben McCorkel makes West Perry history as the first student ever to receive a national gold medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a competition that over its almost one hundred year history has honored such legendary writers as Truman Capote and Stephen King during their own high school careers. Ben’s personal memoir, “Fog’s Grip,” is his ticket to the Scholastic awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  

Ben always had a love for writing. In an interview, he stated that he “likes creative writing” much better than assigned writing. Ben proclaims that he gets most of his ideas for his writing pieces from the world around him, and it gives him “fuel for the fire.” When he first started writing “Fogs Grip,” he said that while he “was working at the barn, the gears started turning, and [he] realized that [he] should write this down.” He also commented that his writing is “a reflection for how I’ve changed as a writer over the years.” 

His personal memoir piece started as an assignment last year. English teacher Lynne Reeder, told him how talented he was, and encouraged him to submit his writing piece. His memoir won a gold key at the regional level. From there, he advanced to the national level and won the coveted gold medal, a first for West Perry.

Ben “was satisfied with [his] gold key at the states level,” and he “forgot about the National level.” However, when he found out he won the gold medal at the National level, he was in denial for days, and could not “process that [he] won an award against students all over the country.” He jokingly stated the irony of a “kid from Perry County writing about horse manure.”

The Scholastic gold medal is the most prestigious writing award he has ever won, but  “Fog’s Grip” is not his only writing achievement. Recently he placed first in the fiction and personal essay categories at the Perry County Youth Art Day. Ben said he has a larger writing project in the works.

Currently, Ben is involved in the computer programing shop at Cumberland-Perry Vocational Technical School. He is accepted to Central Penn College and plans to major in Criminal Justice Science with the hopes of becoming a criminal investigator. In addition to joining the Pennsylvania State Police, he plans to write in his free time.

West Perry congratulates Ben on his award winning memoir. You make us West Perry proud!