The Orinda Juniors hosted the Youth Ink 2015 awards ceremony on April 23rd at the Orinda Library Auditorium. Youth Ink is an annual creative writing contest open to all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students who live or attend school in Orinda. The Youth Ink 2015 prompt is Choices. This prompt was chosen because it encourages young writers to personalize their piece and lends well to an open style choice.

We had 48 entries this year. Our judges (a panel of local professional writers) were so impressed by the writing of these students, they chose to write their own personal note to all who entered. Here’s a snippet from one:

I would like all you Youth Ink writers to know how much I enjoyed reading your contributions. I was struck by your creativity, your ability to make me see things in new ways, and the way your pieces moved me emotionally. Your writing often used beautiful language and explored important themes, just like the adults writers with whom I work. Please keep writing! The fact that you had the courage and determination to write your piece, edit it, and submit it to a contest tells me that you have the passion and dedication necessary to become a life-long writer. If you keep developing this interest, everything you experience, think, and feel can find expression in your writing. It can become a powerful way of making sense of the world around you and of exploring, expressing and expanding yourself in ways you never dreamed possible. Your writing skills will help you not only in college and in your career, but in your personal journey as well. Thank you for giving me the chance to see the world through your eyes; write on and have fun!

—Cynthia Leslie-Bole

This year’s winners:

1st place ($250) – Katie Lyons – “Sinking Honor”
2nd place ($125) – Lindsay Kornguth – “A Deathly Dilemma”
3rd place ($75) – Nisha Andrews – “A Choice”

10 Honorable Mention (Gift certificates):
(not ranked, listed by last name in alphabetical order):

Olivia Eukel – “Perfect”
Dara Kazmierowski – “Skiing Like a Pro…or Maybe Not”
Sophia Kofoed – “The Warrior Within”
Amrita Pannu – “Rising Above the Waves”
Maddy Reynolds – “A Second Chance”
Maddie Robinson – “This is Me”
Emma Rust – “When the Waterlilies Bloom”
Elise Wilson – “The Guardian Angel”
Eva Winter – “Potatoes”
Clara Wu – Love is Blind”

youthink_graphicUpon the announcement of the 2015 Youth Ink writing contest , co-chairs Elizabeth Casey and Leigh Colburn talked with the Orinda News. Read their story online in the Orinda News (on page 15).

The 2015 Youth Ink writing contest is open to middle school students, grades 6th, 7th and 8th, who live in or attend an Orinda school. Entries may be a story (fiction or non-fiction), poem, or other form of creative writing, written specifically for the contest. The writing prompt for 2015 is Choices; however, you may write about anything you like—real or imaginary—adhere to the prompt or not! There is no limit to your imagination.