California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

October 09, 2007Mary Beth Barber

High School Writing Contest Winners from the California Arts Council

California Juniors were invited to write personal accounts for the "California Story Slam"; each county winner receives $1000

Sacramento -

The California Arts Council announces the winners of the agency's first "California Story Slam" writing competition, a pilot project that encourages students to use the knowledge of their lives and emotional journeys to create literature. Seven winners were announced in the following counties: Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Madera, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Yuba. The local arts agency in each county will distribute the funds. The winners are:

Andrea Ngyuen, Deer Valley High School, Contra Costa County (Heather Keeton, instructor)
Joey Summerhill, South Lake Tahoe High School, El Dorado County (Susan Channel, instructor)
Amanda Stone, John Borroughs High School, Los Angeles County (Lee Carlton, instructor)
Michelle Takacs, Madera High School, Madera County (Amy Weigel, instructor)
Lisa Quan, Monterey Trail High School, Sacramento County (Francie Teitlebaum, instructor)
Enda Tang, Wilcox High School, Santa Clara County (Heidi Vals, instructor)
Ashleigh Landau, Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts, Yuba County (Sherry Kovell, instructor, and John Pimental, principal)

During the 2006-07 school year, high school juniors from select counties around the state were invited to write a short story that expresses "an event or time in your life when all your emotions were clear to you--a time when you said to yourself, 'I need to remember this.'" The entries were first judged on their ability to evoke the moment of a personal experience and a sense of meaning or depth of feeling, and then reviewed for personal style. Each winner received $1,000, and each winner's school received $1,000 for his or her school's library.

The competition is made possible through funds from the sales of My California: Journeys by Great Writers, a fundraising project for California Arts Council's literature programs for kids. My California is an anthology of narrative travel and adventure stories by 27 California award-winning authors and journalists. The volume was published in 2004 by Angel City Press and is now in its fourth printing. The project was made possible through the generosity of everyone involved--the editors, the publisher, the printer, the publicist, and the authors. Additionally, noted artist David Hockney and the J. Paul Getty Museum allowed Hockney's famous photo collage "Pearblossom Hwy." to be used as cover art for the book.

Members of the press interested in the "California Story Slam" or the anthology My California may contact Mary Beth Barber at 916-322-6588 or More information on My California may be found at

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Michael Alexander, Vice Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Annette Bening, Eunice David, Charmaine Jefferson, Chong-Moon Lee, Carlos Martinez, Michael Rubel, Fred Sands, Karen Skelton and William Turner.

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