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2 South Pas Teens Earn Statewide Writing Award

Jason Wang and Jenny Wang are juniors in Diane Shires' AP Language class. They will advance to the national competition.

South Pasadena English teacher Diane Shires has a lot to smile about these days. 

Two of her junior AP Language students have won Scholastic Writing Gold Key Awards for the state of California for their research essays on the topic of sustainability. Jenny Wang and Jason Wang [no relation] next will match their writing and reasoning with students from across the country.

Out of 1,400 writing entries for the California Writing Awards, the South Pas High School  students are two of the 52 entrants from the state to go on to the Scholastic National Competition. Jason's essay, "A Seed Gone Wrong,'' looks at possible solutions to overpopulation, while Jenny's, "U.S. Cult of Consumption,'' examines overconsumption and its effects on our environment and future generations.

"It really is inspiring to work with our advance students at the high school level,'' Shires wrote to Patch in an email.

"Our community here in South Pasadena provides such a great support system for our students to excel, and they have so much to offer. Their ideas are inspiring and thoughtful.''

Shires and her students are waiting to see which students have been selected for Silver Key and Honorable Mention Awards.

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S. Ray February 08, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Congratulations to these obviously talented young people. I have to wonder, though, if they had written on an unpopular topic that did not meet the political correctness test, if they would have been as successful. For instance, if these gifted writers had written "The Case Against Gun Control" or "The Myth of Man's Influence on Global Warming," would they have achieved the same recognition? It has been well documented that the "problem" of overpopulation is grossly overstated. According to 10-year old statistics from the U.N., population worldwide is expected to stabilize and start declining by 2050. With the worldwide economic recession, that date is expected to move up in the latest studies. Indeed, in the U.S., we are being told that the Obama economy is causing a population decline that will lead to a smaller labor base to support a growing entitlement class. The "solutions" are either to increase population or shrink the entitlement class. Similarly, hunger is a problem due to distribution resulting from political and religious factors (e.g., Muslim governments starving areas with Christian populations as occurred in Sudan, Egypt and Indonesia), not food production. With respect to the so-called "cult" of U.S. consumption, it is American consumerism that has fueled our economic growth, a growth that makes us the world's economic engine. Would these students have won had they taken positions supporting consumerism and population growth? Just asking.
JenniferP February 09, 2013 at 12:26 AM
...because climate change is not a myth just like pollution is not a myth. And 10-year-old stats from the UN? Meh. Stats are not reality.
S. Ray February 09, 2013 at 08:12 PM
JenniferP, you miss my point entirely. I don't question that the climate is changing. What I question is whether man has caused it, primarily due to the overwhelming evidence that the earth has gone through numerous climatic cycles over the centuries when man's impact would have been decidedly less. What we are experiencing now is simply one of those cycles, in my opinion. Certainly, there is no unquestionable or unquestioned science supporting a man made cause. And, with respect to your panning of 10-year-old statistics from the UN, where do you think most of the international population statistics are collated? Statistics are gathered, and then the academics use them to prepare projections in the years that follow. I am reasonably certain (although I haven't read the paper the young writer authored) that he used statistics from such sources to support his arguments. With respect to your statement that "Stats are not reality," I agree. The notion of man's influence on climate change is based on statistics, which are not reality. My point, though, is to question whether the young writers would have been as successful had they not written on topics that pandered to the cult of political correctness.
JenniferP February 09, 2013 at 09:24 PM
I didn't miss your point. You posted to question the validity of handing out awards based on biased topics, which is like serious bad manners for the original post; you came to a *congratulatory post* but pooped in it. When people tell you good news, do you always poop on their joyous or proud occasion?! Bad manners.
S. Ray February 10, 2013 at 07:38 PM
JenniferP, you engage in a classic feinting tactic. Since you don't have anything useful to say about my response to your original post, you simply impugn my integrity or my motives. As a woman of color who has raised unpopular points of view my entire life, I have seen this all too often. If this is bad manners, so be it. In my opinion, it is very insidious to make young people write to support a politically correct position and then to reward them for it, particularly if someone who might have written equally well but on an unpopular was not similarly rewarded. This needs to be said, particularly since all too often these contests are simply part of a process to reinforce a particular point of view. For my grandmother's era, such a contest might have had as its topic, "The proper employment of the Negro" or "Should we educate the braceros," instead of the current environmentalist mantra of "sustainability." I simply raised the question to promote a dialog. Your suggestion that it is bad manners reminds me of when I have been told in the past not to be "uppity."

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