As a young girl, Wytress Harrison Mitchell stood out among her siblings and peers for many reasons. One, because of the uniqueness of her name and its derivative. Secondly, she stood out because of her humble and quiet demeanor, as well as her being the oldest of her siblings and thirdly, Wytress stood out because at an early age she mastered the art of manuscript writing that later developed into a beautiful, creative, detailed oriented, meticulous penmanship that stood out over and above any manuscript, handwriting and cursive penmanship known to man. Wytress’ mother (Jewell Harrison) was quite a meticulous writer as well; so naturally the penmanship gene flowed onto Wytress. As Wytress matured and matriculated through her life, when asked about her love and passion for the manner in which she wrote; she would quickly mention her Mother (with accolades, acknowledgement and admiration) and would also reference and gave credit to one of her elementary school teachers, Mrs. Vickie Barnes who was persistent in making sure Wytress practiced, developed and mastered her passion to write legibly and consistently. Wytress took it upon herself being the oldest to mentor her siblings with their writing skills as well. Wytress took pride in her ability to script out and connect words elegantly and throughout her lifetime she received thousands of compliments from invitations she would script.  People often thought the invitations they received were done on a computer or machine; that should give you a quick glimpse of just how beautiful, precise and exquisite her penmanship was. 


Wytress made the decision early on in her life to choose a career that was not only an integral part of her life; she wanted a career that would allow her to change and impact the lives of little ones; hence her decision to select Elementary Education and Childhood Development. What a rich legacy she deposited in the world of Education. Wytress held many positions in Education and she prided herself not only in being able to have complete and total control within her classroom, but she also prided and patted herself on the back for being able to teach many children who had been labeled as “behavioral” and “unteachable”,  as well as being able to equip her thousands of children and many adults in properly holding their writing utensils, placement of paper, the stroke of their wrists and hands along with the ability to connect the alphabets that would eventually develop into beautifully crafted words on a piece of paper without any erasures. 


Later on in Wytress’ life she was diagnosed with a debilitating illness (Lupus) that was often known to add a crippling effect to the many who encountered it; causing them to not be able to hold a writing utensil and sometimes not able to even write; yet Wytress superseded the norm, defied the odds and was still able to use her penmanship without any damage. She became a 1st time author by penning a very informative book on the disease that was housed in her physical body; although she endured chronic pain consistently for many days and even years; until her transition. 

Wytress’ penmanship was so elegant and in a class all by itself, it really should have been insured and incorporated. 


The Penmanship Award

Anyone who becomes the recipient of a Penmanship award is an honor within itself. I personally feel it should be esteemed highly and included in the same category as an individual who is nominated and/or receives a Pulitzer Award.  The penmanship award is granted to an individual or a group of individuals who have mastered the ability to grip and properly hold a writing utensil, maintain the proper placement of writing material, the stroke of their wrist and hand to a desired end, where their handwriting is considered to be meticulous in regards to the strokes and connection of each letter used to compile a word such that when the word is written out it makes a statement of its own. There is an art, skill and/or manner attributed to handwriting that catapults it into the category of penmanship. One should guard and take their penmanship extremely seriously. Your penmanship should speak for itself. Penmanship should not be messy or mimic scribble scratch. The Wytress Harrison Mitchell Penmanship Award honors the sister of Dr. Bridget E. Hilliard, Philanthropist and her educational legacy. Ms. Mitchell was an educator and administrator for over 40 years; serving students in the Houston Public School System and Private Institutions while also consulting and writing the handwriting and discipline curriculum for a privately Texas funded campus for low income children in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth. In her honor, each year on her birthday January 15th students will be awarded a $100 gift card, handwriting tablet with engraved pen and pencil.  




Students in grades PreK3-5th grade.

Penmanship Requirements:

Using wide-ruled handwriting paper, students must handwrite a mini essay.  The topic theme of the mini essay is specified below for each grade category.  Students may choose to write in manuscript or cursive.  Handwriting should be legible, neat, and excellent with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. 

 Each grade category should submit the following:

  • PreK3-Kindergarten 
    • Hand write minimum three maximum five lines for the mini essay prompt:  I love my teacher because….. or What is your favorite animal?
  • 1st-2nd grade
    •  Hand write minimum five maximum 10 lines for the mini essay prompt:  I am really good at… or Tell me about your best friend. 
  • 3rd-5th grade 
  • Hand write minimum 10 maximum 15 lines for the mini essay prompt:: Most influential person in your life and why? or If there was one change you would make for all mankind; what would it be?

Deadline to submit hand-written mini essay:

Monday January 10, 2021. Submissions must be clearly scanned or photographed