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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Student Wins $500 in State Essay Contest

April 14, 1999|NANCY FORREST

VENTURA — A sixth-grader at Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura is one of two public school students to win a statewide essay contest sponsored by the California State Library in Sacramento and the National Center for the Book.

Dallas Nicole Woodburn will receive a $500 award from the California State Library Foundation.

The statewide contest is part of the national Letters About Literature 99 competition in which students write letters to their favorite authors, living or dead. Each letter attempts to explain to the author why his or her book was important to the student, said Robert Daseler, spokesman for the California State Library.

Dallas, 11, wrote a letter to Anne Frank, whose "Diary of a Young Girl," written while she was in hiding from the Nazis, made a great impression on Dallas.

"Oh, goodness, a few times your writings have made me cry with sadness and with rage at the Germans," Dallas wrote. "I am now on page 200, and things have gotten worse and worse. I feel so bad for you, Anne! I don't know how I would be able to keep my spirits up as you have if I were in your place. I shudder to even imagine!"

Dallas recently published her own book of stories and poems. She has previously won prizes in the Ventura County Poetry Festival.

Ashley Hill, an eighth-grader from Redwood City in the Bay Area, also won the statewide honor.

Ashley wrote her letter of gratitude to Elizabeth Montgomery, the author of the classic "Anne of Green Gables," relating the troubles of her own life to those of the book's impetuous heroine.

The California contest was judged by state librarian Kevin Starr and two newspaper editors, Bill Endicott of The Sacramento Bee and John Gilmore of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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