The Write Stuff: Medfield 2nd grader is state handwriting champ

By Chau Mai,

The story is published on The Medfield Press issued on June 8, 2012

The story is published on The Medfield Press issued on June 8, 2012


MEDFIELD — Today, handwriting is often seen as an old-fashioned practice — even a waste of time — especially since typing on a computer or mobile device is so much more common.

That is not true of Max Gobin, the Ralph Wheelock School second grader, who prefers writing by hand because, “I dislike looking for letters on a computer (keyboard).”

His interest in penmanship a year ago paid off recently, when the eight-year-old won the top spot for Massachusetts public school second graders in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest.

Zaner-Bloser is a publisher of PreK-Grade 8 educational materials.

“I was very excited when I won the handwriting championship,” Max said. “I wanted to participate in the handwriting contest because I really enjoy writing and drawing.”

Nancy Landfield, his second grade teacher at the Wheelock School, where handwriting is mandatory for all students, said Max is the first from Medfield ever to win at the state level.

And this is in 21 years of competition.

The shy, soft-spoken boy is highly motivated… and confident.

“When he knows he has to do something, he is really committed to accomplishing it and doing it with his best ability,” said Max’s mother, Christen Gobin.

Max “definitely” thought he would win at the school contest for second graders, she said, “but he was very surprised when he won for the state of Massachusetts.”

“Mrs. (Juliana) Colantoni really deserves the credit,” Ms. Landfield said. “She was Max’s first grade teacher (at the Memorial School), where handwriting is taught and emphasized.”

More than 325,000 students nationwide participated in the Zaner-Bloser annual handwriting competition this year, according to the group’s website. Schools held their own handwriting contests and entered the winning student for each grade, first through eighth.

Two grade-level winners were selected for each state, one from public schools and the other from private schools.

“They judged my writing on spacing, slant, straight line, round circle and size,” Max said.

When writing, the paramount thing to the 2012 state handwriting champion is a sharpened pencil.

According to Max, the keys to having good handwriting are to, “Take your time, make sure you have good spacing, and you should always put a period at the end of the sentence.”

While some students his age spend their free time at home watching television or playing on the computer, Max writes and draws.

When he grows up, he wants to become “an artist or an engineer who invents robots,” he said.

When asked if he would like to become a handwriting coach, Max said, “Maybe, 32 percent.”

As the state handwriting champion, Max was awarded an engraved Zaner-Bloser “State winner” medal. The Wheelock School was offered a $200 coupon redeemable for Zaner-Bloser educational materials.

Contact Medfield Press correspondent Chau Mai at


Click here to read the original story on the Medfield Press


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