Pharr middle school student wins national letter-writing contest

Karen Balderas, a seventh grader, was the only Texas winner of an Imagine Learning letter-writing contest. Classmates in her ESL class submitted artwork along with her writing. (Courtesy of PSJA ISD)

A Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School student wrote one of four winning letters in the Imagine Learning National Students LOVE Literacy Contest. Classmates in her English as a Second Language class made art to accompany the text.

Karen Balderas, a seventh grader, was the only Texas winner, with other honorees residing in Illinois, New York and North Carolina.

“This award is very special because our district is focusing on reading, literacy, writing and on social-emotional awareness,” said Sherry Vargas, the Language Development Specialist for Middle Schools at PSJA ISD, in a news release. “Our teacher, Ms. Navarro, took the initiative to enroll in the writing contest and we’re just thrilled that their class won.”

Imagine Learning is a company that develops software to teach language, literacy and math. The letter was addressed to “Booster,” the company’s robot mascot.

Karen Balderas poses for a picture with her teacher, Laura Navarro. (Courtesy of PSJA ISD)