MSJ Young Authors honored at Winners’ Circle

By: Grace Dong

The 2014 Fremont Unified School District Young Authors’ came to a close as the top authors for each grade level were honored at the Winners’ Circle Awards Tea on February 25 at Warm Spring Elementary School. MSJ boasted three winners this year, Freshmen Stephanie Doan and Victoria Schmit, as well as Sophomore Shefali Sastry.

The Young Authors’ competition is hosted every other year by the district and is open to all students from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to twelfth grade. Contestants are to write and illustrate their own original fiction story (100-1500 words) appropriate for audiences from TK through sixth grade.

Doan, Schmit, and Sastry were among the top three district winning entries in their own respective grade level that were recognized at the Winners’ Circle. Their entries were selected by a judging panel of teachers, administrators, and other members of the community from more than 3800 entries district wide.

Stephanie Doan

Doan’s winning entry was mentored by English teacher Tanya Roundy and was titled The Shining Tree. Her story revolved around the life of a broken Christmas tree who has a difficult time being sold. Doan had a great time during this year’s contest and definitely hopes to participate again in the future.

Victoria Schmit

Schmit entered her piece, Rooftops, also with Roundy as her mentor. Rooftops is a story about a boy who runs to escape his solitary life, but when he meets a girl named Rosalind, running changes from a mere pastime to something much more important. About the Winners’ Circle and the contest, Schmit said, “It was nice to meet and talk with other people just as interested in writing as I am. It also helped from an inspiration standpoint: seeing fellow young author’s stories and reading them helped me grow as a writer.”

Shefali Sastry

Sastry created her entry, Veronico, with English teacher Jennifer Moore as her mentor. In Sastry’s science fiction book, a boy named Veronico witnesses the crash of a spacecraft, which leads him on a journey to save the entire world. “I first participated in the Young Authors’ contest in 8th grade,” said Sastry, “When I became a winner then, I decided to try this again!”

At the Winners’ Circle Awards Tea, the three MSJ winners were honored with certificates and gifts in the official presentation of awards, hosted by Debbie Amundson, the Director of Elementary Education. The Warm Springs Elementary School gymnasium was filled with clapping family, friends, and educators brimming with pride for this next generation of writers. The Young Authors’ contest is unique in the manner that it encourages and recognizes student talent in creative writing across the entire district, bringing together many of these young writers at the Winners’ Circle. Doan’s, Schmit’s, and Sastry’s award winning books will be available in every Fremont elementary school library and the Fremont Main Alameda County Library later this year. (61)

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