Palisades authors were celebrated for original and heartfelt stories and poems at a culmination event at the Palisades Library on October 12.
For many, in first through 12th grade, it was their first attempt at creative storytelling. The stories were anonymous to the panel of six judges, who selected the winners based on several criteria that included creativity, originality, effort, plot and theme.
This annual event includes actors Christine Kludjian and Bill (William) Jones, who perform the pieces, much to the delight of the audience.
“Every year it changes and the stories seem more profound,” said Jones, who has performed in Simon & Simon, Hardcastle & McCormick, Days of Our Lives, and the podcast series Imagine Air Theater. “We’re blown away every year.”
Kludjian, who is known for The Chronicle, has been working as an acting coach during the strike. She said, “this is the highlight of our year,” and complimented the young writers, “We saw more self-reflection with the older group – we haven’t seen that in the past.”
Both agreed that being able to “act” these stories was a remarkable experience. “How often do you get to read a script from youth,” Kludjian said, and added as actors that “We seldom get to read creative writing and the present it.”
First place for each age group was a $250 gift certificate to Diesel Bookstore; with second place receiving $100 and third place $50. Additionally, there were drawings for three sets of tickets from Netflix at the Bay Theater on Swarthmore, offering winners a chance to see the Taylor Swift Eras Tour movie playing there.
AUTHORS (High School)
Taking third was a poem The Best Day: Brrin Thud, Slam, by Milken Community School student James Marks. The author asks if the normal school day of Brrring, Thud Slam is the sound of the Best Day or whether the best day might be “A day where one has peace serenity and “Isn’t silence and peace the real power?”
Second place went to James Corman from Harvard-Westlake for The Journey Home, who wrote the story from the perspective of a Hyacinth MaCaw. This is a fascinating tale of birds who are illegally captured from their jungle home and saved by a group of people “Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release.”
Casey Scaduto, who attends Palisades Charter High School won with The Best Day Ever. Simply, anyone who has ever taken their first written and driving test to receive a driver’s license will understand this story, which is told from the heart.
SCRIBES (Grades 7 and 8)
Paul Revere Charter School student Noah Benharash received third place for the entertaining tale, A Pirate Story. After being afloat in the sea on a piece of driftwood, the main character and his brother are grateful to the pirates who rescued them. But then the story takes a turn and the lead character searches for his family, who may or may not be alive. He faces a kraken and cannibals “but really, cannibals and a corrupt government are really the same thing.”
Alexander Vari of Brentwood school took second for River Rafting Adventure detailing a rafting trip on the Salmon River in Idaho with Boy Scout Troop 223. After capsizing, he writes “I am happy that I capsized, the reason is that I am no longer scared . . .and that its part of kayaking.”
First place went to Sebastian Corman (New West Charter) for Farm Days. His is a story of a youth who is forced to try something new, living on a farm and gardening with his uncle. At first, he is resistant to change, but taking third place in a contest with a turnip, helps him realize the importance of relationships. It was a summer that changed his life.
SCRAWLERS (Grades 5 and 6)
Adelaide Griffin-Matlow from St. Matthew’s took third for Penniless Heroes, which is about a fire in camp and a young girl’s effort to find a five-year-old’s pet.
Seven Arrows Hudson Marks took second with The Worst, I Mean Best Day. The protagonist is faced with going through a room of clowns (one of his fears) or a room full of rainbows and unicorns. “This is a hard decision. Face my fear or go through ‘shudder’ the unicorns.” Next, he has to choose between bullies or ruined baking projects. This is a highly imaginative and entertaining piece and like all of the stories can be read in their entirety on click here.
First place went to Rohan Mukhopadhyay (Paul Revere Charter School) with The Best Worst Birthday. If anything could go wrong on a birthday, it did, from being trapped in traffic to amusement park rides that were not open to only one kind of ice cream available (grapefruit) to the only movie available was one in Japanese. But the hero of the story took all the possible disappointments and turned them into positives and concluded “this was definitely the best day ever.
JOTTERS (Grades 3 and 4)
Third went to Dylan Tierney who attends UCLA Lab School for Our Very Own Yes Day, who wisely wrote “When you have a really good friend, it doesn’t matter if you don’t see them for a while, because when you do, you pick up right where you left off.”
Second place went to William Vari of Carthorp School, for 4th of July in the Palisades. Anyone who has ever run the 5/10K Will Rogers Race knows that Vari has accurately described the event in his story. After he tripped and fell “Almost immediately, a kind man in an Elvis costume shot out his hand and picked me up. Okay, that’s really cheesy to say but I promise it’s true – Elvis saved me.”
Ella Kervin from Palisades Charter Elementary took first with A Symphony of Heroes: The Battle to Save Queen Condor. This fantasy tale starts when a young girl receives a violin for her birthday. Inside is a folded note “play at your own risk.”
SCRIBBLERS (Grades 1 and 2)
Jack Kervin of Pali Elementary took first with Splat of a Day. CTN urges you to go to the website to see Kervin’s entry carefully and painstakingly written in pencil. It is delightful.