Back in 1990 when I was a senior in high school, my Government teacher read about a writing contest hosted by UC Davis. He decided to make it a class assignment (we had to write an essay about the importance of the media and free press). My mom was always trying to get me to enter writing competitions whenever she came across them in the newspaper or magazines, and although I had loved creative writing since 5th grade, I never felt my writing was good enough to compete. Since writing this essay was mandatory for my class, I went ahead and turned it in. My teacher, Mr. Harker, submitted them all to UC Davis, and I was shocked to learn that I had won 2nd place and a prize of $250!
My family was so proud when we got to go to an award ceremony and news reporter, Bob Schaeffer, presented me with an engraved plaque and the check. At the time I was just pleased that I got to spend the money on material to make my senior prom dress. Later I realized that winning that award is what gave me the confidence to get my BA in Humanities from San Jose State and to open my own writing business in 1996. I’ve been thinking about that contest a lot lately. (I even got my photo and essay published in our local newspaper, The Daily Republic.) I keep telling myself I need to get to the library and find it on their microfiche since I lost my copy quite awhile ago.
I’ve decided that I’d like to host my own writing contest based on that experience, and will write about it in another blog post soon!