ESCONDIDO — A self-admitted bookworm, one Rincon Middle School eighth-grader was all smiles Wednesday afternoon.
Brandy Caracheo, 13, was one of dozens of honorees for the Escondido Union School District’s annual Young Authors Celebration at the school.
Hundreds of students, friends, family and EUSD staff and administrators took to the multi-purpose room to read this year’s exhibits.
The submissions came in all forms — one to two sentences from transitional kindergartners to poems, such as Caracheo’s. Twenty-three schools plus home-schooled students were eligible.
The 13-year-old said her winning piece was inspired by emotion, some of it depressing, as she is starting to grow up. A bit Peter Pan mixed with real life, Caracheo said her poem was a reflection of her self-realization of the outside world, the one beyond her friends and the fantasy books she chews through. It is titled, “I’m getting older, I’m growing up and everything becomes clear.”
“It’s about growing up and starting to see all these problems and understand things,” she explained.
It was the first time she entered the contest throughout her tenure in Escondido’s schools, although she did nab a top prize for an art poster contest when she was in fourth grade.
She said she submitted her poem in December and was confused when her teacher didn’t give it back. At first, Caracheo thought she may be in trouble, but when her teacher revealed she was a winner, Caracheo was all smiles, for the most part.
“I was surprised and excited,” she said. “And I’m sure a little nervous.”
She not only loves to read, but write books as well. Her favorite genre is fantasy and is currently immersed in the Harry Potter series. As for her favorite book, don’t ask.
“I actually hate that question,” she said through a big smile. “I love all my books.”
In tow with her father Fausto Caracheo, the patriarch took photos of his daughter pointing at her display.
“I am really proud of her,” he said. “I’m just trying to be a good dad.”
Some submissions, like the ones from the older students, were several pages long and some filled with photos and creative formats.
Others, like the transitional kindergarten kids, were simple and to the point. One such winner, Precious Perez of Pioneer Elementary School, wrote simply and poetically, “I like to count numbers. I like math.”
As for the rest of the students and winners, Kimberly Israel, coordinator of community outreach for the district, said one winner from each grade level at each elementary school is chosen, while two students per grade at each middle school are honored.
She said the event, which has been in existence for more than 10 years, is a way for the students to display the skills they have learned.
“We don’t define what they write about,” Israel added. “It really is meant to be a reflection of writing they’ve done this year. We look at a way to honor our kids for their hard work.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.