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Ap Lang 2009 Essay Contest

by Aozora Ito, sports editor, and Celine Hoang, social media manager

Five students from Fountain Valley High School (FVHS) have won a round trip to Sacramento on March 8, 2017 and a chance to speak with legislators to discuss school start times through the California State University, Sacramento’s LegiSchool Essay Contest.

The students are from Sean Ziebarth and David Theriault’s Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition class. The winners are juniors Evan Mak, Dianne Bui, Nicholas Dinh, Aileen Nguyen and Theodore Vuong. They get a free air travel to Sacramento, meet state legislators and other officials, discuss education policies, have a luncheon and take a tour of the capital.

Originally, Sean Ziebarth found out about the contest through a former student who asked him to proofread an essay that they were going to submit to the contest. Starting this year, he wants to make the contests annual as long as the prompts are interesting and students want to do it.

“Last year, I didn’t even think about it, but this year I got a bunch of emails and I saw, ‘Oh this is perfect, it’s an argument, it’s what we’re talking about it and it was a good prompt. I wanted all my classes doing it this year,’” said Ziebarth.

He didn’t expect half of the winners to be from Fountain Valley; the contest got over 500 entries, there were 160 submissions from Fountain Valley, so the odds worked in his favor. A majority of the submissions were from Southern California, and according to the legislator director, it made more sense for SoCal students to want to travel to Sacramento than students who already live in Northern California.

All of these winners didn’t expect to be chosen as one of the 10 winners from California. While Bui did her essay in advance, most of these winners waited until the last minute to finish the assignment as most high school students do. Bui wrote about her personal experiences with having zero period and not having the late start Mondays that most have.

“I think it’s important for other students to just maintain their physical and mental health. I actually completed the assignment a long time beforehand because it was something I actually cared about and it affected my life as well,” said Bui.

The winners wrote about their personal life to support their argument, while others based it around scientific research and logistics. Vuong used the topic of adjusting transportation and athletic schedules to argue against school times starting later.

The winners expressed their biggest excitement in attending the conference next month. Bui is excited for the luncheon and talking to policymakers; Nguyen is looking forward to the tour of the capital, while being nervous for the “intimidating” discussion. Dinh seemed the most optimistic about the discussion.

“It’s kind of exciting because you get to discuss these things with these people who’ve achieved such success in the political arena,” said Dinh. “Just to be able to there and speak to them as equals are exciting.”

Excited about the great opportunity the student winners have, Ziebarth plans on keeping his eye out for future essay contests.

“When students win contests, I think it’s one of the best ways to get students excited about their writing and care about their writing because they realize that people are reading it and that they can make a difference in their writing,” said Ziebarth.

2009 - 2010

Essay topic: The way I see my school's day

1. Sava AndreeaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica
2. Sfetcu LaviniaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica
3. Moldovan LorenaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica

2010 - 2011

Essay topic: Solutions to prevent high school dropouts

1. Costână CristinaX BStoian Remus
2. Leicu DenisaX BStoian Remus
3. Iancu MirunaXIII APStoian Remus

2011 - 2012

Essay topic: What do you think the most serious problem in the world is? Why?

1. Brișcoiu AnuțaXI BStoian Remus
2. Sârghi CiprianXI BStoian Remus
3. Costâna CristinaXI BStoian Remus
1. Filon Ana-RalucaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica
2. Sulică IoanaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica
3. Chiriac PaulaXII BKalmuțchi Fănica
1. Agape Mihai ReadXII LStoian Remus

2012 - 2013

Essay topic: What does loneliness mean to you?

1. Mocanu Eliza ReadXII AStoian Remus
2. Ginerică GeorgeXII APPașcu Adriana
3. Costână CristinaXII BStoian Remus

2013 - 2014

Essay topic: If I win the lottery...

1. Amarandei GeorgianaX AKalmuțchi Fănica
2. Nica AndreeaX BStoian Remus
3. Lacatâș Ana-MariaX BStoian Remus

2014 - 2015

Essay topic: Computers can translate all kinds of languages. Do our children need to learn more languages in the future?

1. Nica AndreeaXI BStoian Remus
2. Taropa SivelXII CEStoian Remus
3. Amarandei GeorgianaXI AStoian Remus
1. Nastasă Elena Otilia ReadXII BKalmuțchi Fănica

2015 - 2016

Essay topic: What does it take to be a good parent?

1. Amarandei Georgiana ReadXII AStoian Remus
2. Sârghi AndreiXII AStoian Remus
3. Lacatâș Ana-MariaXII BStoian Remus

2016 - 2017

Essay topic: How would you spend one million dollars?

1. Olteanu Delia ReadX BStoian Remus
2. Pintilie GeorgeXI BStoian Remus
3. Petruț MagdaX BStoian Remus

2017 - 2018

Essay topic: If your school was donated a large sum of money, how would you spend it?

1. Olteanu DeliaXI BStoian Remus
2. Bordean MiriamXI BStoian Remus
3. Pintilie GeorgeXII BStoian Remus