Editor's note: The Sierra High English Department is hosting its biannual Storytellers Contest. Students can submit writing pieces in Fan Fiction, Original Fiction and an Open category. Submissions are due April 19.
By JASLIN KATARIA
Communication By Design
Being a writer is an art on its own. As a writer, I dive deep into the creative side of my brain to write art on lines. I have been writing for a few years, but last year I finally got recognized for my writing. The Storytellers Contest is a contest that allows Sierra High School students to showcase their amazing passion for writing. This contest consists of five categories: poetry, editorial, flash fiction, short story, and novella. Each category had one winner, but Novella has two winners. The winners were: Jayden Smith, The Lover’s Casket, poetry;Tanya Sharma, Righteous Religious Indoctrination, editorial; Jillian Kuhn, Just a Little Longer, flash fiction; Komal Thandi, 1935, short story; Jaslin Kataria, A Surgeon’s Nightmare and Alicia Calderon, Paramnesia Novella.
I started writing at the young age of 11. It was me and my notebook every night. I would write at least two pages a day, even knowing no one would see that story. Writing isn’t the only thing I enjoy, I love painting, too. Writing and painting got me to express what I was seeing in my head on paper or a canvas, but with both forms of art I never thought of putting it in the spotlight and letting people see what I can create. Keeping it close to me meant no one would ever be able to put me down for doing better. Even last year when I first heard of the Storytellers Contest, I didn’t really think of entering until my friends encouraged me. I entered not thinking much of it and most certainly not expecting to win. Spoiler alert: I won! Each winner received a basket with goodies and every story won will be read by the Advance Theater students as a play.
I was very excited and proud of myself. For once, I let myself go and I got something in return for it. The Storytellers Contest has really changed my mindset on writing. It made me realize that writing can be a big part of my life if I allow it to be. Before I entered, I never wanted to show anyone my work. I was anxious about letting people see what I wrote. Scared to see them judge me or not like what I wrote, but after winning, I saw the love A Surgeon’s Nightmare received and now I want to create more.
Going forward, I know I will always keep my writing passion close to me. Seeing people read my story as a play makes me feel alive. The piece that I wrote is being seen by students who will act out each scene. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. I will continue writing and, in the future, write a book and show the rest of the world the passion I have for writing.
Through Our Lens: Sierra High junior Jaslin Kataria poses with principal Steve Clark (right) and teacher James Burns after receiving her first-place prize for the school's Storytellers Contest held in November 2021. (Photo contributed)
Jaslin Kataria is a junior at Sierra High, studying Communication By Design. Kataria loves to make videos with friends that are used for the school news YouTube channel. Kataria also loves to write stories. In November 2022, Kataria won the school's Storytellers Content for “The Surgeon’s Nightmare.” She also loves spending time with family.