Student and Alumni Stories

Cassandra Hsiao (CW ’17)  is a print and on-camera teen reporter and movie critic for The Los Angeles Times: High School Insider, BYOU Magazine, Crixit, and Fanlala. She has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, as well as by the National Student Poets Program.

Hailey Andrews (CW, ‘18) has been awarded Yale University’s $50,000 Frederick Mortimer Clapp Fellowship.

Isla Walker’s (CW, ‘24) poem "Swimming at Night" was published in Blue Marble Review.

Lola Suleiman (CW, ‘23) released a book titled “Predestined,” which is now available on Amazon as part of The Predestined Trilogy.

Caitlyn Mason’s (CW, ‘23) original script, “The Last Words of a Shooting Star,” was ranked as a finalist in the 2021 California Young Playwrights' Contest. Her other original play, “Dear Edith,” was ranked as a semi-finalist

Elora Sparnicht (CW, ‘22) won the 2022 OC Poetry Out Loud competition.

Lola Suleiman (CW, ‘23) released a book titled "Dear Q,." "Dear Q," is about a girl named Rilee who learns to cope with grief when she loses her best friend. Through new friends and unexpected struggles, Rilee may finally be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Caitlyn Mason's (CW, ‘23) original play, Fluent Love, placed in the top eight entries in the Kennedy Center's Annual VSA Playwright Discovery Award Competition. The awards highlight the experiences of students with disabilities

Creative Writing Faculty Member Tim Powers' newest novel, "Stolen Skies," was published in January.

Vincent Virga (CW, ‘22) published his first book, a children's book titled "Bird of Stone." The story revolves around a stone gargoyle that offers lessons in kindness, caring, and teamwork.

Jordan Guerrero (CW, ‘23) has had her epistolary fiction piece, "Umbrella Girl," published in Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine.

Ava Gwendolyn Richards (CW, ‘25) published a book, titled "Training Wheels," now available on Amazon.

Dahlia Sarmiento (CW, ‘24) was unanimously appointed to the City of Santa Ana Youth Commission by the Santa Ana City Council.

Josh Wood, Director of the Creative Writing Conservatory, had his flash science fiction story, "Space & Aces," published in the online magazine 365 Tomorrows.

Mia Soumbasakis (CW, ‘22) was awarded the Lion’s Heart Think of Others Before Yourself (TOBY) Award in honor of a variety of projects, including teaching creative writing to young students, making jewelry for foster children, and helping with food and clothing drives. The TOBY Award is a community service award given to an outstanding Lion’s Heart volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their community.

Congratulations to the following students for their success in the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These students received Regional-at-Large awards. Gold Key recipients will now be judged at the national level.

Gold Key Award
Grant Li (CW, ‘23): Humor, An Update from Heaven - Yeah, We Don't Know Either
Caitlyn Mason (CW, ‘23): Dramatic Script, two types of goodbye
Amy Shi (CW, ‘24): Poetry, Monsters Amid War
Clara Son (CW, ‘23): Poetry, The Maiden In My Dreams
Ashley Thornton (CW, ‘23): Critical Essay, The Dead Part of a Star; Poetry, Catallena

Silver Key Award:
Lena Brem (CW, ‘23): Short Story, The Cul-de-sac
Laura Anne Chen (CW, ‘21): Flash Fiction, Windowpane Glass; Novel Writing, Jewel-Steeped Hibiscus
Andy Choi (CW, ‘22): Poetry, Cyborg Asian Americana
Isabel Hahn (CW, ‘22): Short Story, Sonder
Jessica Hong (CW, ‘24): Personal Essay & Memoir, The Raging Inferno
Melanie Huq (CW, ‘21): Short Story, Isolatoes, The Sapphire Key
Jamie Jung (CW, ‘24): Flash Fiction, My Name; Short Story, The Voice
Tara Kalle (CW, ‘23): Flash Fiction, Baby Luke My 'Demon' Brother
Leo Lai (CW, ‘24): Short Story, Peter the Pencil and Ed the Eraser
Caitlyn Mason (CW, ‘23): Dramatic Script, life in the sky; Short Story, the family on the bathroom wall
Sidney Muntean (CW, ‘22): Flash Fiction, MUSINGS OF A MODERN-DAY GHOST; Personal Essay & Memoir, Desperado
Keila Sato (CW, ‘21): Science Fiction & Fantasy, Helios, The Last Ama; Secrets in the Sands; Writing Portfolio, Distant Worlds
Amy Shi (CW, ‘24): Short Story, Sanguine
Clara Son (CW, ‘23): Poetry, Greek Tragedies, Ablaze
Elora Sparnicht (CW, ‘23): Humor, My Name is COVID-19
Ally Wong (CW, '23): Poetry, Eczema, Assimilation, Calligraphy Lesson
James Yi (CW, ‘24): Flash Fiction, First Human