WQED Hosts 2021 Writers Contest Celebration

June 29, 2021

WQED announced the winners of its 2021 PBS KIDS Writers Contest through a virtual event on June 25. Partnering with WQED on the Writers Contest this year were West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB), PBS 39 (WLVT) serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, and WPSU in State College, serving central Pennsylvania. Twenty-seven stories were chosen as finalists from almost 700 received from throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, and across the country.


Earlier this month, the public was invited to vote June 17 - 24 for the “Reader’s Choice Winner” from the 27 finalists.

Winners of 2021 Writers Contest were awarded prizes, including the opportunity to record their winning story. Their recordings will be broadcast on and featured on Saturday Light Brigade (SLB) Radio in the summer of 2021. K-5 and STEM winners’ stories were made into an original puppet show which was shown at the virtual celebration by Pittsburgh Puppet Works.

The 2021 Winners are:


1st- Courtney Chin, Arcadia, CA – “Shooting Star”

2nd- Aaban Mahmood, Coraopolis – “Penny is Hungry for Pizza”

3rd-Dhilan Duggal, Wexford –“Kman Spreads Kindness”

Honorable Mention- Joshua Joseph, Sewickley – “Toto and his Friends”


1st- Lilianne Amber, Uniontown – “Super Cat vs. The Cloud of Doom” - Also STEM winner for grades K/1

2nd-Jacob Anderson, Bethel Park – “Frankie’s Garden”

3rdLiliana Saxon, Uniontown - “Be My Friend”

Honorable Mention - Anvita Mishra, Lancaster - “Daisy, The Helpful Rabbit”


1st- Vivian Petrich, State College - “A Salt Shaker named Pepper”

2nd-Rocco Vergerio, Tarentum – “Rocco’s Tacos”

3rd – Sarah Sakowitz, Upper St. Clair – “Happy Foods”

Honorable Mention - Anahita Baghchi, Chesterbrook – “Odd vs Even”

STEM winner for grades 2/3- Ava Jean Slezak, Bridgeville


1st-Emma M. Valotta, Venetia – “Lovely Lady”

2nd-Sophia Pedreira, Whippany, NJ – “Elves in the Woods”

3rd-Crystal Clydesdale, Venetia – “Blake Builds His Dream”

Honorable Mention - Emily Siegrist, Mt. Carmel – “What a Difference Kindness Can Make”


1st – Hadia Kashif, Carnegie – “The Spotless Cheetah”

2nd-Olivia Anderson, Bethel Park – “The Case of the Wayward Wrapper”

3rd-Arjun Kairi, - “The Power of Solidarity”

Honorable Mention -Coleman Yengst, Allentown – “Sammy Squid”

STEM winner for grades 4/5- Harinee Adivarahan, Chandler, AZ


1st-Sage Mahan, Valencia – “The Almost True Tale of Cinderella (with many interruptions)”

2nd-Michael Novotnak, McDonald – “Practice Makes Perfect”

3rd-Gia Vresko, Saxonburg – “Teddy Travels the World”

Honorable Mention -Samantha Siegrist, Mt. Carmel – “A trip Across the Country”

About WQED
WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive ( and WQED Education (

About West Virginia Public Broadcasting
West Virginia Public Broadcasting nurtures personal growth, promotes civic responsibility and inspires lifelong discovery through high-quality programming and services. West Virginia Public Radio, West Virginia PBS, and Ready To Learn® are all services of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

The Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting is a 501(c) 3 organization responsible for receiving donated funds from individuals for annual membership to West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Friends serve as ambassadors in their communities on behalf of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

All of the licenses for West Virginia Public Broadcasting are held by the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, Kay Goodwin, Secretary.

About PBS 39
PBS39 is a community-owned public television station licensed to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA, serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. PBS39 is owned and operated by the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation. PBS39 has the potential to reach 6 million people in our viewing area. PBS39 educates, inspires, informs and entertains while stimulating and disseminating the exchange of ideas for community enrichment.

About WPSU

WPSU Penn State is a collection of innovative writers, storytellers, teachers, producers, designers, and technicians — using 21st century tools and media to bring information, education, and entertainment to our viewers, listeners, and larger communities throughout Pennsylvania and beyond.

We are leading edge public broadcasters — producing original, local content and providing your favorite programs commercial-free on public radio and television, to engage the minds and spirits of our neighbors and make connections between the region and the world.

We create meaningful and memorable films about important social, academic, and community stories to help stimulate conversation and discovery.

We improve learning experiences, through design of high-quality, dynamic content in a variety of formats, to aid learners of all ages in their educational journeys.

About Saturday Light Brigade
SLB Radio Productions, Inc. (SLB) uses radio and audio to encourage, amplify, share and archive the ideas, stories, and feelings of children, youth and families. SLB believes in radio and audio because these technologies enable a sense of intimacy, engagement and self-directed imagination that is often lacking in other media, while also promoting opportunities for privacy (given that children need not be photographed), equal access (audio has fewer barriers for participation than other media), and sharpening of important life skills (i.e., speaking and listening, imagination, creative expression, and critical thinking, respect for others, confidence and cooperation, and technical curiosity).

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook