By Karen Aquino
Siena Leslie â08 won the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award and a Certificate for Superior Writing for a poem, short story, and proctored essay she submitted. Leslie submitted her two pieces of writing and then wrote a proctored essay after school at school in early May and she was notified earlier this school year. The National Council of Teachers of English sent both her and the English Department a certificate and will notify the colleges she is applying to about her win.
In order to be able to enter the contest, she had to be nominated by the school and she needed to have a faculty sponsor to send in her entry information and proctor her essay. Her sponsor was English teacher Jeremy Michaelson.
The poem she submitted was âeleven brief descriptions of a young divinity, one fourth god and three fourths demon, existing in a border world,â Leslie said.
âMy short story tells the story of a young man who, traveling through a forest with a caravan of merchants, is separated and becomes lost. When he encounters a vampire, he assumes his life is over, only to wake the next morning, veins intact, to find her (the vampire) cooking him breakfast. The story focuses on his attempt to understand herâsheâs someone whose life has plunged irrevocably and literally into the dark, and yet constantly remains cheerful and optimistic, spending her time trying to help life along,â Leslie said.
Leslie was looking for writing competitions to enter, and decided to enter the contest when her mother encouraged her to enter. Her mother had won the same contest when she was in high school.
âStereotyping happens in the book world, and it can be very frustrating and disheartening when people roll their eyes as soon as I say âfantasyâ. The fact that I got an award is a validation of my writing, regardless of the genre I choose,â Leslie said.