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May 22, 2012 > Young poet earns regional recognition

Young poet earns regional recognition

Submitted By Winston Choe

Students in public and private schools across the Bay Area recently competed in a "Growing Up Asian" in America Art & Essay Contest sponsored by the Asian Pacific Fund. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, over 1,400 entries were received under the 2012 theme, "Bridges." Special exhibits displaying all the winning entries will go on tour at libraries and government facilities across the Bay Area. Copies of a commemorative book featuring the winning entries will also be distributed for circulation to libraries and middle and high schools in the nine Bay Area counties.

Allison Wei Choe, a fourth grade student at John Sinnott Elementary School in Milpitas was awarded second place in the K-5th grade category for her poem, A Golden Perspective. Allison explains her background and fascination with poetry:

"I am a 9 year old Chinese American, and was born and raised in the South Bay. My parents grew up in Malaysia and Singapore where I have a large extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins. I also have a younger brother, Brandon, who is very sociable and good in sports. Our family loves outdoor activities and we have travelled extensively in the Bay Area and Asia. My favorite pastime is reading since I was three years old, and I would check-out tons of books every few weeks from the Milpitas Library near our house.

"I am a student at the John Sinnott Elementary School where I first developed my interest in writing poems in the Second Grade with encouragement from my teacher, Ms. Nicole Perkins. I have written more than 100 poems since starting at seven years old. Inspirations for poems would come to me at all times, and I would quickly write the phrases down in a notebook and later stitch them together into a poem. One of my poems titled 'Rainforest' won Second Prize in Category 2 nationwide in the "Young Voices Of America Speak Through Poetry" contest last year.

"This encouraged me to use poetry to share my stories and ideas with more young people around the country. The 'Growing Up Asian in America' program from the Asian Pacific Fund, is a very good program to share our culture with people around the Bay Area, and I feel very honored that my poem has been chosen as one of the winners in the K-5 category.

I hope to further develop my interest in poetry by working with experienced Mentors and also collaborating with other young writers around the country."


A Golden Perspective

I saw the dawn shift ---
Plucking the night from my dreams,
The rising sun glowed like a red Chinese lantern,
Caressing the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.

I gazed at a scarlet salmon
Leaping through the air,
Time after time,
Working against raging currents and predators,
To the place it wanted to go.
It made me think ---
Asian Americans are unwavering, too.
Courage, diligence, perseverance are in our blood.
The bridges we have crossed are not without bumps and cracks,
And our journeys have not been without hardships.
But we are capable of reaching our dreams
In this land of opportunity.

I walked slowly to the railing
And peered at the powerful ocean.
The bridge brings strangers together,
For a moment in time,
Sharing an admiration of its magical beauty.
If this bridge could think,
I'm sure it wouldn't care
About our different looks, languages, tastes and ideas.

I saw the fog roll in,
Enveloping the elegantly arched bridge.
The bridge suddenly seemed to come alive,
With a spirit and soul,
Connecting all generations and races,
Building an understanding of one another.
Its tools are emotions,
The steel it lays down is compassion.

I glanced over at my family as they laughed together,
Feeling blessed to have so much love.
Mom's friend visiting from Asia framed and snapped
Every angle of his family on the bridge,
Capturing everlasting memories of their trip.
Even if this bridge looks different from the others,
It serves the same noble purpose.
It is the glue that holds families and friends together.

A globe of sun called to the waking world,
Atop the towering structure of orange metal.
Flocks of seagulls clustered on the beams,
Sea lions sang in harmony,
Celebrating the bridge's anniversary today.
Tourists from all over the world gasped in awe.
My heart pounded with an overwhelming feeling of joy ---
Proud to be an Asian American
Through and Through.



For more information about the Asian Pacific Fund contest, visit: http://www.asianpacificfund.org/contest/2012

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