2011 Art & Essay Contest Winners

Our judges were overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and quality of the artwork and writing that was submitted to us for this, our first-ever Green Ways to School Art & Essay contest! Thank you to all who gave us submissions. Keep riding, keep writing & keep creating!

"Why We Ride" Winners & Honorable Mention

posted Apr 26, 2011, 12:29 PM by Greene Wayes   [ updated Apr 26, 2011, 7:03 PM ]

The winner of the essay portion of the contest is Akosua Busia of Santa Cruz High. Read her essay below, entitled "Anything But Pedestrian."

The writers who our judges selected as Honorable Mention are:
  • Clayton Conroy, of Santa Cruz High with his poem entitled "Why We Ride."
  • Simon Harrison, of Santa Cruz High with "Open Your Eyes," a string of haikus.
  • Darnee Covita, of Cypress Charter High with an untitled piece.
  • Alex Bogan, also from Cypress, with "Summer."
  • Chris Noel, of Oasis Independent Studies with "Why I Skate."
  • Uriel Nuñez, of Renaissance High, with an untitled essay.
Alberto Rocha-Ortiz of Pajaro Valley High won the art portion of our contest with his piece "Air Celestial." view his artwork below.

Our judges selected the following artists and their submissions as Honorable Mention:

Winning Art: Air Celestial

posted Apr 21, 2011, 4:23 PM by Greene Wayes

Air Celestial

By Alberto Rocha-Ortiz
Age: 18
Grade: 12
Pajaro Valley High School

Winning Essay: Anything But Pedestrian

posted Apr 21, 2011, 4:11 PM by Greene Wayes   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 4:45 PM ]

Anything But Pedestrian

By Akosua Busia

Age: 16

Grade 11

Santa Cruz High School

Lungs brim with gratitude with every breath of sweet air, leaving a cool, fresh taste of morning fog lingering on the pallet, the nose savoring the salty smell of ocean. Worries mesmerized by the brain's rhythmic lifting of the feet, one after another, over and over again. The softly singing chorus of passing cars; the whisper of the trees as they idly watch the procession; the ricocheted morning music of seals as they call to each other from the rafters beneath the wharf; the quiet rush of small winds as they overtake me and push by me on the sidewalk, eager to be on their way; the familiar shuffle of my shoes against the forgiving ground – the sounds of walking slowly but surely drown out all my unwanted thoughts and, for now, I am alone, distanced from the stress of high school, from the frustrations of family life, from the strains of growing older, from the pressures of a fast-paced world. I spend all day, every other waking moment, meeting the demands of others – behaving for my parents or teachers – or worrying about the future – what work needs to be done by tomorrow? By next week? By next month? By next year? - or trying to live up to all of the expectations people have for me – wearing the right clothes, knowing the right answers, looking at the right colleges, taking the right classes – but for forty blessed minutes a day, that all disappears: for forty blessed minutes a day, all I have to do is walk, breathe, and allow myself to get wrapped up in the comforting simplicity, in the beauty of just getting from point A to point B. When I walk, I control everything that happens in my life: I control the pace, the path, the destination, the soundtrack, the beginning, the middle, the end – I control everything. For forty blessed minutes, I have nothing to do but what I decide to do, nothing to do but be a sixteen year-old. I am a teenager, after all; I'm supposed to be cool, be young, be care-free, be adventurous, be invincible, and, for forty blessed minutes a day, freed from all stifling pressures and fears as I propel myself across the expanse of land which lies between my house and my school, I can be all of those things, if only for a moment. Yes, not driving to school, to work, to the grocery store, or to the mall saves the environment, but it can also save lives and sanity. Because, for forty blessed minutes a day, caught in transition between my two destinations, the small quiet space between my two worlds, I experience the peace that I can find nowhere else: the peace of being no place at all, the peace of walking.

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