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April 21, 2010 > Sarah Li, national writing award recipient

Sarah Li, national writing award recipient

By Sargunjot Kaur

It started off as a simple high school English project assignment and earned the honor of inclusion in the Nation's Most Talented Young Artists and Writers; celebrated at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 9. Sarah Li, a junior from Mission San Jose High School, was inspired by an article on the "Hidden Children of the Holocaust" that she read in her Honors English Class.

"It was sad to find out that these kids were not considered victims of the Holocaust, though they suffered huge psychological trauma. Except for Anne Frank, the stories of the rest of the hidden children were not told. I wanted to tell that story," said Li.

Rather than writing a report or making a painting, she chose to stick to a medium she knew and was best at - poetry. "I am a lot more comfortable writing poems. With poetry, you can say more with less," said Li.

Her poem, titled, "you can't cure this in a day," is an intense story of riveting yearning, anger, and loneliness. It will be exhibited in Manhattan at the World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery in Lower Manhattan from June 9-25.

This is an excerpt from her poem:
"you used to play hide-and-go-seek in the shadows/and pretend that your hiding place was just/too good/ for the blond-haired blue-eyed to find you./ but the afternoon would always come to an end,/and they would always go home./ and you would still be hiding/along/in the dark./and never found."

Li's national award-winning poem was selected in the top one percent consisting of six national Gold Medalists, of more than 165,000 works of art and writing submitted. She will join the ranks of the nation's most revered artists and writers, alums of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, include: Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, John Lithgow, Bernard Malamud, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Otterness, Philip Pearlstein, Zac Posen, Sylvia Plath, Richard Avedon, and Robert Indiana.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is an 87 year-old national program that distinguishes outstanding creative teenagers and offers scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors as well. This award is offered by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a national nonprofit organization, with a mission to provide creative teens with opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, scholarships, and professional development.

Li continues to write poems in her free time. "I mainly stick to free-verse because I am less restrained and rhyming would just take too long." She has previously submitted her works to the Alameda County Fair and her high school art and literary magazine, Phoenix.

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