Congratulations Maya!

Congratulations to Maya Litauer (’15) for her publication in the About Place Journal:


I am a soft body,
wrap me in your glowing shroud
and watch me sing.
Bathe me in your salty sweat
as we fade into the forest
of skin.
Our edges are sunset,
out roots and our branches
connect what we see.
Lather me into
your dry cracks
and watch me come to life.
Close your eyes and graze
my tips with yours –
my bark is marked
with longings.
We have eyes,
in our leaves,
we know what warmth is –
take some from my
roots and bury it in your


by Frances (’14)

Every year, the National YoungArts Foundation chooses 150 high school finalists to attend YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. This year, I was among them; as a writing finalist, I got to fly across the country to spend eight days with amazing, talented artists. Spending time with those kids awakened me immediately. At SOTA, I find that we generally expect to be the best. We tend to put ourselves in a bubble of “we’re the best” and look at others as though we know best, as though we know everything there is to know about our art. The thing is, almost every other finalist at YoungArts Week came from an art school. They’d all had years of training in their disciplines, and nobody was a beginner. I realized this immediately, on the first day, when the twenty-four writing finalists shared their work with each other. Everybody knew what they were doing. Afterwards, we all got lunch, and sat at the table, speechless. It was a humbling experience for all of us, but not because any of us felt we were bad writers; instead, it was because everyone else was so good. Over the course of the week, when we watched the other disciplines perform, I experienced similar feelings. The musicians moved like athletes; the opera singers sang so loud my ears rang; the filmmakers made me cry. Every night, as we got snacks by the pool, we were in awe of each other, and by the end, I felt like I’d learned a lot about the diversity and talent of America. I met people from all over the country. There were kids from states I was beginning to think might only exist on the map. Because of this, I think everyone should apply for YoungArts. Going to YoungArts Week, is a way to get beyond ourselves and our own bubbles, connect with the greater artistic community of our country, and meet people with talent that will stun you. I promise. There’s more out there than you’d expect.

Find the Frances

Art & Film – Tarkovsky Essay Contest

One of the earliest units Creative Writing delved into this semester was an “art unit” taught by Ronald Chase, where he helped us understand the changing landscape, subject, and techniques of art, and taught us ways in which we communicate about art. Why use, “I just don’t like it very much,” when you can go much deeper into the composition and specify? “This blank canvas may attempt to communicate a blank and slightly saturated view of what art has fallen into, but fails because it is, in effect, a blank canvas.”

The unit concluded with an essay contest in which we were to enter: the 2012 Tarkovsky Essay Contest, involving a short essay on any of the Art & Film movies we had seen and wanted to write about. The lucky winners were: Abigail Schott-Rosenfield, 11th grade, Tarkovsky Prize winner; Frances Saux, 11th grade, 2nd Place; Midori Chen, 11th Grade, 3rd Place; and Bailey Lewis Van, 10th Grade, runner-up.

A link to all of their essays can be found here. Congrats to the winners and all other C-Dubs who entered!