Blair Students Sweep “One City One Story” Essay Contest MS Category

1st place winner, grades 6-8 writing category, Simone Nguyen with her Blair English teacher, Ms. Kathy Anderson.

The Pasadena Public Library held a writing and art contest in conjunction with this year’s “One City, One Story” selection of “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen. In the grades 6-8 essay category, Blair 8th grader Simone Nguyen won 1st place, Blair 7th grader Rhea Calva-Despard won 2nd, and Blair 7th grader Ian Macklin-Sims won 3rd place!

Their winning stories (and photos from the awards event) can be found on the Pasadena Public Library website. Writers were to tell about traveling or travelers, to tie in with the theme of the “One City, One Story” selection. In “The Sympathizer,” Nguyen writes of a man whose life and loyalties are divided, with time in both America and in Vietnam.

Also as part of Pasadena’s “One City, One Story” event, Blair students were recently able to meet author Nguyen and hear from him in person at Blair about his acclaimed first novel.

With the writing contest theme of travel, in Simone’s story, “Goodbye Vietnam, ” the narrator recalls his or her family’s journey over the sea as they emigrate from Vietnam to Thailand. Rhea’s story, “Home, ” told of a thirteen-year-old with ARMS disease recalling the difficulty and pleasures of traveling—both for fun and for treatments. Ian wrote a poem, “Little Black Me – From Africa to America, ” giving the perspective of a young black male who feels as though he is unappreciated.

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