Wendy Duncan has been a fifth grade teacher at Happy Valley School in Lafayette, CA for over 25 years. Raised in the SF Bay Area, she lived overseas with her family in both Austria and Saudi Arabia, where she taught in the International School. In her writing lessons she draws heavily from the New York Writing Project.
Alison Burke was born in Berkeley and raised in Orinda. After graduating from Miramonte High School in 1970, she received a BA in English at Stanford before getting her teaching credential at UC Berkeley. She has taught Spanish and English for 24 years at Miramonte.
It was thrilling to read so much fresh and imaginative work. I don't know what I was expecting, but not so much vivid and original writing. It was the live detail, story by story, the fullness of imagination that surprised me. It made me feel that the future of literature is in good hands and your young writers should (1) keep at it and (2) feel very proud of themselves.
—Robert Hass, Chief Judge of the 2nd Annual LYAS Writing Contest
Former U.S. Poet Laureate and 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winner
My students over the years have been glad to enter, and even more thrilled to be recognized for their writing. It has been a huge boost to many kids' confidence as writers and creators. I believe that the LYAS contest has shown kids that they are capable and talented... what an awesome accomplishment for the LYAS!
—Kathleen McGough, English teacher at Stanley Middle School
The LYAS contest has become an important yearly tradition for my students. It pushes them to expand their abilities to be creative and improves their craft
as writers. They're excited about it every year, often asking me if the prompts are out yet within the first few weeks of school! It's also great for them to see young people taking the initiative to create such a great organization. I'm grateful to the founder and members of LYAS for all that they're doing for Lafayette students!
—James Shapiro, former Humanities teacher at Contra Costa Jewish Day School
Author of several books including the Clare series, All You Get Is Me, and The Vinyl Princess, which won the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award, was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Fiction, and nominated for a Northern California Book Award.
June 2nd, 2018
Thanks for 1,200 entries, Lafayette! We can't wait to read more!
For the past six years, LYAS has run annual writing and photography contests for middle school students. Our goal is to get kids to explore writing and photography as real interests, outside of English essays and Instagram selfies.
Welcome to LYAS!
Who can enter?
The competition is open to residents of Lafayette CA, attending 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in public, private, and parochial schools. Homeschooled kids in the equivalents of grades 6-8 are also eligible.
Contest opening date:
November 12th, 2018
Contest entries due:
January 31st, 2019
Early April 2019
April 21st, 2019
What is LYAS?
We're an organization run by kids, for kids. We're here to provide a place for the kids of Lafayette to showcase their artistic talents (and artistic doesn't necessarily mean painting and drawing alone).
Interested in joining the team?
We are looking for creative, passionate 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th graders to help run the run the contest, working behind-the-scenes to make the magic happen.
Some duties can include brainstorming, writing articles, web design, publicity, data entry, fundraising, and more!
In the past, middle and high school volunteers have worked between 5-20 total hours throughout during the contest season (fall to spring), so it's a flexible arrangement.
Volunteers acquire numerous skills such as problem-solving, organization, communication, time management, and teamwork.