HS Students Win Chandler-Gilbert Scholarships for Creative Writing
Aspiring writers from high schools across the East Valley recently had the opportunity to showcase their creative writing skills and compete for a scholarship to Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
The winners of CGCC’s annual creative writing contest for East Valley high school students, Aaron Tenny, Nicholas Vera, and Nikolas Huston of Hamilton High School, and Carlos A. Lara of Corona del Sol High School, will be using their scholarships to study creative writing at the college with accomplished author and CGCC faculty member Patrick Finn.
Tenny was chosen for his poem "Death of War," a piece about the horrors of brutal combat and the peace each soldier longs for amidst the bloodshed.
Vera's short story "Snapshot" weaves past- and present-action storytelling about a character's bittersweet memories of a childhood friendship that grew and gradually dissipated through time and distance, contemplated through a 12-year-old photograph.
“I definitely want to be a writer someday. I’m not sure whether I want to write fiction or non-fiction, so this creative writing course will be good place for me to start,” Vera said.
Huston's "Contact to Reality" is an experimentally philosophical narrative grounded in a series of existential telephone dialogues between the story's young protagonist and a number of older figures in his life as he wrestles with the nature of reality.
Lara's winning short story "Prologue" follows the aftermath of a futuristic battle through the eyes of a reluctantly victorious agent who finds that victory soon leads to her own path of doom.
“It still hasn't hit me that I won,” said Lara, who plans on taking the Creative Writing class this fall at CGCC. “My English teacher encouraged me to take a leap of faith and submit my story and I'm glad I did. My goal is to write science fiction books someday.”
Finn said the purpose of the writing contest is to recognize the imaginative literary talent of young writers and to encourage their continued artistic development.
“Many writers, editors, literary agents, and publishing houses across the country have been feeling the squeeze during these difficult economic times,” Finn said. “But saving literary art from extinction truly depends on cultivating enthusiasm for creative writing in our nation's youth by encouraging their imaginative efforts and rewarding their successful results.”
All four students were recognized at the college’s student awards banquet in May.
Finn launched CGCC’s Creative Writing program in 2007. His first novella, A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich, was published by the Cleveland State University Press in February 2008. Finn’s previous publications include, “Where the Beautiful Ladies Dance for You,” which first appeared in Ploughshares, and was included in the Best American Mystery Stories, 2004; as well as various pieces in TriQuarterly, The Richmond Review, The Clackamas Literary Review, and Punk Planet. This year one of Finn’s stories was listed among the 100 Distinguished Stories of 2008 in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Short Stories 2008, edited by Salman Rushdie.
This fall, Finn will offer four creative writing courses, including two sections of Introduction to Imaginative Writing (CRW150), Introduction to Writing Fiction (CRW170), and an Intermediate Fiction Writing workshop (CRW270).
“I see these classes appealing to a variety of people— those who want to turn their personal journals into something artful, those who have always wanted to write a story based on their lives, and even those who just love to read,” Finn said.
For more information or to enroll in fall classes at CGCC, access my.maricopa.edu or call (480) 732-7320.