Writing Contest Winner Announcement

Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) is pleased to announce the winner of its Ambassadors of Compassion story writing competition for middle school students.

story contest winner Vandaan RaviThe winner Vandana Ravi, 7th grader at Palo Alto’s Fletcher Middle School and recipient of the $500 prize, will have her story published and illustrated by a professional artist and will receive four tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Her story, “Snapshot,” becomes part of PAHS’ book series to be used with PAHS’ education programs. The three Honorable Mentions include Amara Fernandes, St. Lawrence Middle School, Santa Clara; Aaron Huang, Nueva School, Hillsborough; and Macy Li, Basis Independent, Sunnyvale.

An awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 4:00–5:00 p.m. at Cornelis Bol Park, 3590 Laguna Avenue, between Barron and Matadero avenues, in Barron Park, Palo Alto. Making a guest appearance at the event will be Perry and Jenny, the resident donkeys who helped inspire the winning story. Donkeys have been a feature at Bol Park for 85 years. Donations for their care are welcome.

To support the creative process of young people, PAHS challenged students from Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Alameda counties to create an original fiction or nonfiction short story on the theme of compassion, specifically on how animals and humans can help each other in physical and or emotional ways.

Vandana says the inspiration for her story came from asking herself, “How can a small, everyday action of kindness can turn into something much bigger and in what ways can animals improve our days, our lives?”

James Church, a judge for the competition and a professional writer himself, says to the participants, “Congratulations to all who set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Writing a short story is among the most taxing exercises. Every word had to be selected, polished, considered. As with the notes of a song, they need to carry a melody, so that the reader/listener almost doesn’t notice each one but the beauty of the whole.”

For a list of participants in the contest, click here.

To read the winning and three runner-up stories, click here.