On the Town: Young writers shine at Cabrini Literary Guild event; Eagle Rock Center for the Arts' annual auction

April 15, 2014|By Ruth Sowby
  • Cabrini Literary Guild writing awardees, from left: Krista Gelev, Emily Garcia, Sonya Williams and Katherine Irajpanah.
Cabrini Literary Guild writing awardees, from left:… (Photo by Ruth Sowby )

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time," Abraham Lincoln once said.

Hundreds of Catholic high school students interpreted Lincoln's words through essays entered into the Cabrini Literary Guild's Creative Writing competition.

Last Thursday, the Oakmont Country Club was the setting for a luncheon at which four young ladies were honored for their award-winning essays.

Winning first place was Immaculate Heart High School student Krista Gelev. She went home with $1,000 for her efforts. (For the last three years, an Immaculate Heart High School student has nabbed top prize.)

Bishop Conaty-Loretto High School student Emily Garcia was $750 richer, coming in second place. The third place $500 award went to Mayfield Senior High School student Sonya Williams. Katherine Irajpanah, a student at Notre Dame Academy Girls' High School, bagged fourth place, winning $350.

The first-place essay was read aloud by mistress of ceremonies and Pasadena resident Lian Dolan. Young author Gelev wrote lovingly about her relationship with her immigrant mother, present for the ceremony.


Writer and broadcaster Dolan is best known locally for her best-selling novel, "Helen of Pasadena." Dolan's book was nominated for Best Fiction by the Southern California Independent Booksellers.

Dolan directed her remarks to the student writers. "Read a lot. Do a lot. Talk a lot. Write a lot," she said.

She also addressed the honorees' teachers and parents in attendance about the importance of discovering and encouraging young writers.

"I was a huge reader. It didn't occur to me that I could be a writer," Dolan said.

Evidently it didn't occur to anyone else in Dolan's life either. But she wrote in spite of not being encouraged by her parents nor teachers.

Patty Szot, director of the writer awards and luncheon chairperson, introduced the judges who chose the winning essays. They were retired Glendale English teacher Dan Cabrera, author Cecilia Samartin and Laurel Patric, who is the retired director of Glendale libraries. She currently serves as president of the Glendale Library Foundation.

In a nod to technology and convenience, Guild President Marie Urrutia announced that the winning essays can be available online.

The mission of the Cabrini Literary Guild is to assist — financially and otherwise — Catholic and charitable organizations. Through activities, the guild stimulates interest in Catholic literature, thought, action and philanthropy.

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