Here's an interesting follow-up to yesterday's post about the demise of handwriting: A Kentucky newspaper has a story about a teacher at Lafayette High School who, dismayed at the lack of cursive handwriting skills in his students, put them up to a penmanship contest – and rewarded the winners with fountain pens.
Teacher Roger Guffey told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the students knew how to write in cursive, but never used it because they printed all the notes they took in class and all their answers on their tests. Plus, of course, they're more accustomed to texting and using their computer keyboards.
According to the paper:
With that thought in mind, Guffey had his students practice writing the alphabet in cursive, then move on to writing words and entire sentences in script. In the final competition, they had to write Hamlet's famous soliloquy and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence in cursive, and do it with virtually no mistakes.
"It kind of forced them to stay on task and improve their concentration skills, which is something freshmen in general struggle with," he said. "It also helps them learn fine motor control. They're really starting to see how beautiful handwriting can be."
Runners-up got blue ribbons, but the top writers got fountain pens. Wouldn't you know it, the article doesn't say what kind of pen.
Update: The experts over at the Fountain Pen Network quickly identified the pens from a photo in the newspaper as the Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen. Thanks, guys.