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COMMUNITY NEWS: SOUTHEAST

BELL : Essayists Return From Singapore

March 21, 1993|DUKE HELFAND

Three Bell High seniors, winners of an essay competition on cultural diversity, recently returned from a nine-day trip to Singapore.

Marbella Acosta, 18, Ana Maria Quintana, 17, and Sonia Velazquez, 16, competed with student groups from throughout Southern California in the Ambassadors to Singapore competition for a chance to visit the Southeast Asian city-state.

While overseas, they toured nearby Malaysia, visited the Singapore Zoological Gardens and met students from a junior college.

The competition was sponsored by Singapore Airlines and the Los Angeles Times' Times in Education Program.

Of 625 student groups that registered for the competition, seven were chosen for the all-expense paid trip. In January, teams submitted preliminary essays on "Maintaining National Unity While Sustaining Cultural Diversity," with 10 groups advancing last month to a final round of oral questions about Singapore and five other Southeast Asian countries.

In their essay, the Bell students wrote on how Singapore maintains unity amid racial tension, diversity and economic decline. A fourth student, senior Marie Alfaro, 17, helped write the essay but was unable to compete in the final oral contest or attend the trip because of scheduling conflicts.

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