EGHS freshman Fionna Chan.
Last September, Fionna Chan, 15, wrote a personal essay to add to her English portfolio. It wasn’t an assignment, but she really liked how it turned out so she decided to enter it into the Scholastic writing awards.
The EGHS freshman found out this month she’d earned a Gold Key for the essay, Scholastic’s highest regional award.
Writing comes easily to Chan, who won Scholastic writing awards as a student at Cole Middle School too. In particular, she likes writing personal essays.
“I feel the only story I can tell is my own,” she said during a recent interview.
The winning essay was about the death of her family’s dog when she was 6 years old.
“He died from cancer,” she recalled. “It was devastating. At 6 years old, that’s kind of your world ending.”
Chan was prompted to write about the experience after re-reading her diary from that time. She’s kept diaries through the years, not as a daily habit. More for when big things happen.
“My life’s not interesting,” she said. “If something interesting does happen, in my mind, it’s big so I have to write it down.”
Writing is important to Chan, but hardly her only interest – she is, in fact, ridiculously accomplished. She’s a voracious reader (“In my preteen years, all I wanted to do was read”) and has earned Scholastic honors for her artwork. She also plays seven (!) instruments.
“I really like to just learn things,” she said simply.
Her first instrument was piano. Then it was on to guitar, violin, viola, Chinese harp, flute. Oh, and she sings too.
How does she get all this done? Well, one hint might be the fact she didn’t watch TV until she was in fifth grade. And an strong inner drive.
All Gold Key regional winners are entered into the national competition – Chan found out last week her essay was not chosen. Still, if history is any guide, Scholastic has not heard the end of Fionna Chan.