2017, Nonfiction Third Place
“Cuba, My Grandmother’s Journey” by Brandon Sklarin
Smithtown, New York, USA
Smithtown West High School
Brandon Sklarin is so honored to have received third place in the Writing for Peace contest. He heard about the contest through his AP World History class in Smithtown High School West where he is a sophomore. Brandon has always been intrigued by his grandmother’s journey from Cuba and the heritage he shares with that side of his family. He feels strongly about welcoming immigrants into the United States and not having any prejudices associated with their arrival, as long as they come in legally as his grandmother and rest of her family did. Based on the fact that half of his family speaks Spanish, Brandon started learning Spanish at an early age, and it is currently one of his favorite subjects. He also has a love for writing and thanks to an amazing English teacher he has come a long way in expressing his thoughts. Brandon would like to pursue a business degree after high school and attend college down south where he can play golf in his free time. Brandon has been on the high school golf team since 7th grade and really enjoys the sport.
From 2017 Young Writers Contest Nonfiction Judge Brad Wetzler:
Through strong narrative writing and solid reporting, Brandon brings to life the person of his grandmother and the nation of Cuba. I was particularly moved by the empathy he shows for his grandmother and her strong views about Castro and the nation that she misses dearly. Brandon also shows keen awareness of the inevitability of change and the need for all of us to keep our eyes open. He shows us the importance of honoring the views of elders but also the importance and necessity of remaining open to the possibility of change.
Brandon’s winning essay will be featured in our 2018 edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts.
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