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Kate Chopin writing contest winners announced


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Visiting author Constance Solari named sophomore Liana Lum all-school winner of the annual Kate Chopin writing contest at a special assembly this morning.
Lum’s story, which addressed the prompt, “a risk of the heart,” detailed her experience at Laguna Honda Hospital where she unwillingly volunteered her Friday nights. She recollected the story an elderly woman who told her about her own life and to have an open heart, though a wounded one.
Solari, the head judge of the competition and a former English teacher and administrator at Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton, also wrote the historical fiction novel “Sophie’s Fire” about the life of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat during the French Revolution.
The “Kate Chopin Writing Contest” was created in the early 1990s by former English department head Ann Cromey.
“I wanted to make writing really important to students,” Cromey said. “I thought that a contest that you could win and get acknowledged for would make writing as important as playing volleyball or basketball in the students’ minds.”
The English department rechristened the awards ceremony “The Kate Chopin Student Writers’ Awakening Festival” this year.
“We named [the competition] after Kate Chopin because she went to a Sacred Heart School and attribute it to her writing because of its beauty and power,” Cromey said. “It’s affected so many lives.”
“I wanted to make writing really important to students,” Cromey said. “I thought that a contest that you could win and get acknowledged for would make writing as important as playing volleyball or basketball in the students minds.”
All English classes wrote their responses to the prompt on Jan. 6 and 7.
“St. Madeleine, like Kate Chopin, was a forerunner and a visionary to assist women in achieving their dreams particularly in education and spirituality,” English teacher Julia Arce said.
The top 10 contest winners were chosen by English teachers of a grade that they do not currently teach. The top four were then selected by non-English teachers and sent to Solari who chose ranked them and chose the all-school winner.
“I thought it was amazingly clever how what appears to be just the Kate Chopin competition was maneuvered to Janet Erskine Stuart to make her come alive for the students,” Solari said. “Janet Erskine Stuart, of the big three of the Sacred Heart, was the one who wrote the most about education.”
This year’s Kate Chopin assembly featured a performance by the guitar club, headed by history teacher Michael Steinbrecher, who sang and played “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson.
Prior to the performance, the Women’s Studies class presented on the lives of Kate Chopin and St. Philippine Duchesne who both took risks of the heart. A skit after the presentation featured Chopin, Erskine Stuart and the high school’s patroness, Maud Flood, played by seniors Sophia Kelley, Addie Schieber and Abby Newbold, respectively, having tea.
“We are trying to get people excited because writing is a risk and a big thing,” Kelley said. “You are putting your heart out there and letting someone read something that is supposed to be the most intimate part of you.”
This year’s winners are freshmen Caroline Salveson (1st), Bella Kearney (2nd) and Delaney Moslander (3rd); sophomores Kate Carson (1st), Maya Greenhill (2nd) and Chloe Lovato (3rd); juniors Paloma Palmer (1st), Franny Eklund (2nd) and Christina Braa (3rd) and seniors Margaux Gaede (1st), Lauren Baum (2nd) and Madeline Schieber (3rd).
—Madeleine Denebeim contributed to this story.
Sophomore Liana Lum, all-school winner of the Kate Chopin writing contest, talks with English teacher Julia Arce and head judge Constance Solari during a reception in the library.

Sophomore Liana Lum, all-school winner of the Kate Chopin writing contest, talks with English teacher Julia Arce and head judge Constance Solari during a reception in the library.

Madison Riehle
Editor-in-chief

Visiting author Constance Solari named sophomore Liana Lum all-school winner of the annual Kate Chopin writing contest at a special assembly this morning.

Lum’s story, which addressed the prompt, “a risk of the heart,” detailed her experience at Laguna Honda Hospital where she unwillingly volunteered her Friday nights. She recollected the story an elderly woman who told her about her own life and to have an open heart, though a wounded one.

Solari, the head judge of the competition and a former English teacher and administrator at Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton, also wrote the historical fiction novel “Sophie’s Fire” about the life of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat during the French Revolution.

The “Kate Chopin Writing Contest” was created in the early 1990s by former English department head Ann Cromey.

“I wanted to make writing really important to students,” Cromey said. “I thought that a contest that you could win and get acknowledged for would make writing as important as playing volleyball or basketball in the students’ minds.”

The English department rechristened the awards ceremony “The Kate Chopin Student Writers’ Awakening Festival” this year.

“We named [the competition] after Kate Chopin because she went to a Sacred Heart School and attribute it to her writing because of its beauty and power,” Cromey said. “It’s affected so many lives.”

“I wanted to make writing really important to students,” Cromey said. “I thought that a contest that you could win and get acknowledged for would make writing as important as playing volleyball or basketball in the students minds.”

All English classes wrote their responses to the prompt on Jan. 6 and 7.

“St. Madeleine, like Kate Chopin, was a forerunner and a visionary to assist women in achieving their dreams particularly in education and spirituality,” English teacher Julia Arce said.

The top 10 contest winners were chosen by English teachers of a grade that they do not currently teach. The top four were then selected by non-English teachers and sent to Solari who chose ranked them and chose the all-school winner.

“I thought it was amazingly clever how what appears to be just the Kate Chopin competition was maneuvered to Janet Erskine Stuart to make her come alive for the students,” Solari said. “Janet Erskine Stuart, of the big three of the Sacred Heart, was the one who wrote the most about education.”

This year’s Kate Chopin assembly featured a performance by the guitar club, headed by history teacher Michael Steinbrecher, who sang and played “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and “New Soul” by Yael Naim.

Prior to the performance, the Women’s Studies class presented on the lives of Kate Chopin and St. Philippine Duchesne who both took risks of the heart. A skit after the presentation featured Chopin, Erskine Stuart and the high school’s patroness, Maud Flood, played by seniors Sophia Kelley, Addie Schieber and Abby Newbold, respectively, having tea.

“We are trying to get people excited because writing is a risk and a big thing,” Kelley said. “You are putting your heart out there and letting someone read something that is supposed to be the most intimate part of you.”

This year’s winners are freshmen Caroline Salveson (1st), Bella Kearney (2nd) and Delaney Moslander (3rd); sophomores Kate Carson (1st), Maya Greenhill (2nd) and Chloe Lovato (3rd); juniors Paloma Palmer (1st), Franny Eklund (2nd) and Christina Braa (3rd) and seniors Margaux Gaede (1st), Lauren Baum (2nd) and Madeline Schieber (3rd).

—Madeleine Denebeim contributed to this story.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Kate Chopin writing contest winners announced”

  1. Bernard Koloski on February 15th, 2014 8:19 pm

    May I add our best wishes to Liana Lum and the other winners of the Kate Chopin writing contest. It’s great to read the announcement of the winners each year.

    Bernard Koloski
    for the Kate Chopin International Society

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Kate Chopin writing contest winners announced