California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

October 01, 2008Mary Beth Barber

High School Writing Contest 2008 Winners from the California Arts Council

California Juniors were invited to write personal accounts for the "California Story Slam"; each winner receives $500

Sacramento -

The California Arts Council announces the winners of the agency's second "California Story Slam" writing competition, a project that encourages students to use the knowledge of their lives and emotional journeys to create literature. The California Story Slam contest is for high school juniors to compose an eight hundred word or less story, focusing on an important life experience as a beginning point for story writing. This year's competition produced a remarkable collection of descriptive styles and personal experiences.

Thirteen students won awards. The winners are:

  • Ashlie Kimbrell from Independence High School, Contra Costa County
  • Molly O'Callahan from Yosemite High School, Madera County
  • Holli Richter from Vista Murrieta High School, Riverside County
  • Lindsey Dillon from McClatchy High School, Sacramento County
  • Kaitlin Law from Heritage Peak Charter School, Sacramento County
  • Nikki Schuetze from Butte Valley High School, Siskiyou County
  • Adam DeCamp from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County
  • Blake Byfuglin from Moorpark High School, Ventura County
  • Ashley Medina from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County
  • Elena Light from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County
  • Christie Forbes from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County
  • Deanna Dupuy from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County
  • Kristopher Leslie from Newbury Park High School, Ventura County

During the 2007-08 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.

The competition is made possible through funds from the sales of My California: Journeys by Great Writers, a fundraising project for California Arts Council literature programs for kids. My California is an anthology of narrative travel and adventure stories by 27 award-winning California authors and journalists. The volume was published in 2004 by Angel City Press and is now in its fourth printing. My California was made possible through the generosity of everyone involved--the editors, 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 may contact Mary Beth Barber at 916-322-6588 or, and teachers, administrators and students interested in the Story Slam may contact Kristin Margolis at 916-322-6391 or For more information see the California Arts Council website at

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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, Eunice David, Charmaine Jefferson, Chong-Moon Lee, Fred Sands, Karen Skelton, Susan Steinhauser and William Turner.

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