Kids of Asian ancestry dominated a prestigious literary contest in Saipan

JKPL’s 2nd Annual Saipan Dreams Fan Fiction winners and participants — from left, Gericho Conge of Dandan Middle School, Anhkiet Huynh of Kagman High School, Fei Fei Lei of Hopwood Middle School and Kuli Sablan of Cha Cha Ocenview Middle School. Nicole Villagomez of Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, not in photo. Image © Lori Lyn Lirio

HOPWOOD Middle School student Fei Fei Lei won the Second Annual Saipan Dreams Fan Fiction Contest sponsored by the Joeten Kiyu-Public Library.

The awarding ceremony was held at the JKPL on Friday.

During the interview for this article, it was learned that Lei submitted her collection of short stories about the three little girls and their adventures.

Lei, who likes reading books and writing stories, received USD$100 as grand prize and a trophy.

“I had fun. I like reading books, especially fiction,” said Lei, whose last book she read was Little Women.

Anhkeit Huynh, 9th grader from Kagman High School, is the first runner up. He received USD $75 from JKPL. He said he will join again next year because he wanted to get the championship.

“The next time I get into competition, I will make sure that I want to try harder and do better than this year,” he said.

Huynh said he only learned about the competition a few days before the deadline.

“I had no idea that this is happening. It was announce to us in school, a few days before the deadline. I just took whatever time I had to finish writing the fan fiction” he said.

Huynh’s entry is about his ending version of Nijiro Days, one of his favorite anime shows.

“This is my version of ending. It’s like when you watch a show and it doesn’t have a satisfying ending to it, you feel like you can create something as good as it is already,” he said.

Nijiro Days, according to Huynh, is a romance anime based on a teenager trying to go through life in high school.

Second runner up is Kuli Sablan from Cha Cha Ocean View Middle School. She received a USD$50 cash prize.

Sablan also won the People’s Choice Award.

“I was never into writing,” Sablan said, adding that winning in the Saipan Dreams Fan Fiction Contest “motivates me to write more.”

Sablan said she got inspiration from the Smurfs movie.

“It is based on Smurfs. Instead of saying that they are blue creatures, I gave my characters animal-life figure and human traits. It took me more than an hour to write that,” she said.

One of the judges, First lady Dian Torres said the competition is a great opportunity for the students.

“They have shown amazing characteristics and they are awesome. Their creativity is out of this world. I was reading one of them and [told myself] this the kind of movie that my kids want to watch,” she said.

She said she was surprised on how the young writers come up with such stories.

“Living in an island like this, they have great imagination to write something great like this. I encourage everybody to take the opportunity,” Torres added.

According to Beth Demapan, JKPL technical services librarian, the library has teamed up with author Katrian Manning, who was also one of the judges. Other judges were Daisy Demapan of the Public Information Officer of the Governor’s Office, Rosalinda Ulloa, JKPL Children Librarian and Bob Coldeen of KSPN.

Demapan said the grand prize winner will have the opportunity to work with the author.

In a statement released by Manning, she said the Second Annual Saipan Dreams theme was about fan fiction contest.

“Why fan fiction? Because it is fun, and we all have our favorite fandoms,” Manning said.

“Writing a fiction will improve your writing and communication skills. Then, there is the fact that writing is therapeutic.”

For the competition, Demapan said only five students participated and submitted their entries. They are: Fei Fei Lei of Hopwood Middle School, Anhkiet Huynh of Kagman High School, Kuli Sablan of ChaCha Oceanview Middle School, Gericho Conge of Dandan Middle School and Nicole Villagomez of Francisco M. Sablan Middle School.

“What a true gift it is to be able to share your story, as well as listen to the stories of others. You only fail if you decided not to write. Since we have five courageous participants, they are all successes just for stepping out of their comfort zones to be a part of this enjoyable competition,” Manning said.

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