Essay contest winners announced


Jemima Scott

Seniors applaud an essay winner during the Kate Chopin Writing Contest. The judges were the English department and Spanish teacher Rikki Garcia.

Grace Ainslie, Senior Reporter

All grades gathered in Syufy Theater wearing dress uniform this morning to await the announcement of the winners of the Kate Chopin Writing Contest.

The annual contest concludes the Kate Chopin Writing Festival which featured New York Times bestselling author Vanessa Diffenbaugh as a speaker and guest judge.

“We always want to choose somebody who we think will inspire students to pursue writing, to find their passion, somebody who loves the process of writing,” English teacher Julia Arce said.

Students wrote their essays during class in early January, responding to a prompt asking them to elaborate on a personal or fictional experience encountering “otherness” and reflecting on how the experience affected the character.

“I wrote my story on about my experience volunteering at a summer camp,” sophomore Katie Thomis, who won second place in her grade, said. “It was about an experience where all the children were first language Spanish speakers. It was kind of connecting my experience to learning Spanish in school with actually the real world connections.”

The festival started with a presentation from English teacher Mark Botti’s senior class studying “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin. The class made a video comparing the book to the television show “The Bachelorette.”

“I thought it was a really funny way to show the topic,” Thomis said. “I liked the modern connection especially because I watch ‘The Bachelorette.’”

After the video, the English teachers announced the winners. This year’s winners are freshmen Abby Anderson (1st), Kiki Apple (2nd) and Isis Bolvin (3rd); sophomores Mary Crawford (1st), Thomis (2nd) and Claire Kosewic (3rd); juniors Caroline Salveson (1st), Maya Shur (2nd) and April Matsumoto (3rd); seniors Kendra Harvey (1st), Audrey Brooke (2nd) and Serafina Cinti (3rd). Senior Laurel Cinti is the all-school winner.

“Each year we try to provide a catalyst for students to think of something personal, something meaningful,”  Arce said. “However, we are always looking towards aspects most related to our school, our community, our goals.”