Officials at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons (PAC) have announced the three scholarship winners of the college’s Literature to Life essay contest focusing on Khalid Hosseini’s best-selling novel “The Kite Runner.”
Contest organizers called for high school students to submit an essay of 800 words or less that compared and contrasted Hosseini’s novel and the PAC’s presentation of the American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life adaptation of “The Kite Runner,” while also discussing how the live one-man performance enhanced specific elements of the novel.
“The Kite Runner” — the College of the Canyons Book of the Year — is the first novel about contemporary Afghanistan to be written in English. The PAC presentation dramatically portrays the relationship of two boys, Amir, a privileged Pashtun, and Hassan, a Hazara servant, set in Afghanistan during the tumultuous 1970s.
As inspiration for the contest students were offered scholarship prizes in the amount of $250, $150 and $100 for first, second and third place entries.
“The presentation of ‘The Kite Runner’ stimulated a wide range of interesting discussion and was one of the integral pieces of the college’s first book of the year event,” said Adam Philipson, PAC managing director. “It was a difficult task picking the winner. We received a number of excellent essays, all of which did an outstanding job demonstrating a unique point of view about both the novel and live presentation.”
Though open to all William S. Hart Union High School District high schools students, the bulk of the essay submissions, and each of the three scholarship winners, came from Saugus High School teacher Jodi Guerrero’s advanced placement (AP) English class.
Winners were selected as follows:
1st Place: Joseph Taylor, $250
2nd Place: Marissa Embola, $150
3rd Place: Carina Hornbrook, $100
“The combined opportunity to read ‘The Kite Runner’ and to experience this stunning one-man performance allows students interested in combining literature and theatre to gain a broader understanding of these two related areas of academic interest,” said Dr. Floyd Moos, dean of fine and performing arts at the college.