‘Getting away’ was the theme of the latest Library essay contest. Not surprisingly, the participating teens’ individual passions are their escapes. Sofia Kritikopoulos wrote about running. Emma Mustovic wrote about books. Akshitha Venguideshe wrote about Venice. These winners and others were recognized at an awards ceremony on Oct. 28. The Santa Clara City Library gave away a total of $440 in prize money.
“For about the last eight years, we’ve always done an art contest or writing contest for Teen Read Week to bring attention to Teen Read Week and our library,” says Nan Choi, teen services librarian at the Santa Clara City Library.
Grand prize winner Ziana Deen, 17, won $100 in prize money. Her essay, “A Home Away from Home” expresses her love for Malaysia, her mother’s home country.
“We go to Malaysia once every three years and we usually stay at my grandmother’s house or we travel around the area to meet relatives,” Zeen says. “My grandmother’s house is very traditional and cultural. And while it’s not up-to-date, it’s very homey. It’s like a house that gives you a hug. It feels a little bit like stepping back into the past… I also like humid weather. I like how weather can be sunny and rainy but still be warm.”
First place high school winner Jacqueline He, 15, won $75 in cash for her essay, “Vignettes from an Aspiring Artist.”
“Currently I’m working with watercolor; I like the way watercolor blends,” He says. “I’ve also experimented with oil painting, charcoal and ink drawing. Right now, I’m more into Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. In A.P. European History, I’ve learned about these artists and I find their styles interesting because they add a perspective of realism that wasn’t found in earlier stages of art.”
First place middle school winner Jamie Dy, 13, shares her passion for music in her essay, “My Escape.” Her prize was $75.
“I like artists that don’t get a lot of play on the radio, such as Halsey and Troye Sivan,” Dy says. “They’re considered indie alternative artists. The way usual music is, there are a few chords and a drum beat but these artists have electronic sounds that [make you feel things]. When I listen to good music, I feel emotions. If it’s sad song or angry song, I can feel those emotions through the music.”