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Flawless—Student Shines in NYT Writing Contest

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
A sophomore pens a story about her dad and is selected in an international writing contest.
Congratulations to Victoria Huang ’25 who was selected as a runner-up in The New York Times 100-word personal narrative contest. She was one of 82 finalists out of 12,448 submissions from around the world. 

The contest began in 2019 as a 600-word contest. To mix it up this year, the task was to convey a tiny memoir with only 100 words. Students ages 13–19 were challenged to write a short but powerful true story about a meaningful experience from their life. Submissions were judged based on the story being memorable and communicating a larger meaning; the language making the story come alive; the voice being fresh and original; the narrative arc presenting a conflict and a resolution; and the guidelines being followed.

A self-proclaimed “serious” writer since seventh grade, Victoria has entered the contest for the last four years. “I love being able to ground my experiences in words and make moments like this into actual stories,” shares Victoria. “When people read what I write, I want them to be immersed, I want it to feel like cinema.”

By Victoria Huang ’25

“Beel? Bil? Beel.” Dad said, his tongue hitting the back of his teeth, trying to form the tones of the ‘i’. “The bill please,” I added. “Ohhh, the bill, yes, of course.” The waiter walked away, his smock flapping against his slacks. Dad turned to me and asked, “Why can’t he understand me? You can understand me, right? Do I have an accent?” My dad who read me Chinese folktales, who made me love writing, who taught me perfect English grammar, smiled sadly. How could I show him that he wasn’t flawed? “I understand you perfectly, Dad.”

Read Victoria's interview in La Jolla Light.


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