The Orinda Junior Women’s Club is pleased to announce the winners of Youth Ink 2021, the annual creative writing contest open to all middle school students who live in or attend school in Orinda. This year’s prompt was Hope, though entrants were welcomed to write on the theme of their choice. We are pleased to announce this year’s top prize winners:

1st Place: Emma Wong, Symphony in 2020

2nd Place: Audrey Kosla, The Box

3rd Place: Laurel Reader-Taatjes, Stargazer: A Tribute to My Far Away Family

In addition, we’d like to acknowledge the honorable mentions for their commendable entries (in alphabetical order):

Reese Akel, Days, Upon Days, Upon Days

Rory Gaarder-Wang, The Mystery Machine

Penelope Claire Gall, If We Don’t Act Soon

Josslyn Grover, Seed of Hope

EJ Ho, Dr. Andrew Blunk and the Yeti Discovery

Alexa Jardine, Mia’s Christmas Hope

Nura Mohiuddin, The Key

Amanda Roach, Our Resilient Nation

Hana Shukairy, Burning Question

Jila Sponzilli, Flight for Hope

Read the winning entries!

We enjoyed a socially distanced awards ceremony at the Orinda Park, with guest speaker N.H. Senzai, is the author of award winning Shooting Kabul. We thank all of our entrants for sharing their talents with us.  We are also very thankful to our Youth Ink volunteer judges, who thoughtfully provided time and expertise in reading each entry and contemplating this year’s winners among a stellar pool of entries. This year’s judges were Maya Shweiky,  Alina Dyndikova, Imran Ali Malik, Kathryn Turner, and Marcy Stoeven.

Lastly, we’d like to thank our community sponsors who have enabled the Orinda Junior Women’s Club to offer this year’s Youth Ink writing contest to Orinda middle schoolers with their financial support: Friends of the Orinda Library, The Intuitive Writing Project, Lamorinda Arts Council and Orinda Community Foundation.


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