Students from all over Pierce County participated in the 20th annual Pierce County Library System’s Our Own Expressions writing and art contest, and two students from Bonney Lake and Sumner came out on top.
Amelia Day, an 8th grader at Lakeridge Middle School, submitted two pieces of work to the contest.
Her drawing, titled “Prey,” received second place in the 7th and 8th grade drawing category.
Day also submitted a short story called “A.I.,” which also placed second in the 7th and 8th grade short story competition.
Bonney Lake resident Rachel Quick, a junior at Covenant High School, placed third with her poem, “Turning to Eternity,” in the 11th and 12th grade poetry category.
All in all, more than 1,000 art pieces, short stories and poems were submitted for the contest.
The winners and runner-ups will be shown at a celebration at 7 p.m. on May 25 at the Pacific Lutheran University’s Lagerquist Concert Call. The event is free to the public.
Amelia Day: Getting past prejudices
Both “Prey” and “A.I.” have several connecting themes, Day said in an interview. One of the strongest is moving beyond appearances and getting past prejudices.
With “Prey,” Day drew the face of an animal resembling a bear, or a bear-cub, an animal many people associate with danger.
But instead of drawing the creature as the hunter, Day drew it instead as the prey, using its eyes to convey the fear the animal feels.
“Even if something may seem more threatening on the outside, they often have more layers. It’s often true for humans and animals alike,” Day said.
Day’s short story “A.I.” also deals with getting past the superfluous first layer in order to understand something beyond first impressions and prejudices. In this story’s case, it’s not a person or an animal the story explores, but an artificial intelligence.
Her inspiration for the story is based off an old question sci-fi writers have been asking themselves for years – is artificial intelligence, in fact, human?
“I come from the stance of when something is able to think for its own, and have its own creativity, that I believe it should be considered human,” Day said.
Although artificial intelligence is still beyond the grasp of our current technology, Day said the story’s morals can still be applied to the present, especially when it comes to race relations.
“In this day in age, we experience a lot of racial or gender prejudice against people, based on something they can’t really control,” Day said. “Imagine that you are that person, and how would you feel being treated that way for something you couldn’t control. I think if you think about it that way, many people would come to realize what they are doing is, in fact, wrong.”
This isn’t the first year Day placed in the Our Own Expressions competition. Last year, she placed third in her short story category with “Two Minds, One Fate.”
Rachel Quick: “Tuning to Eternity”
Rachel Quick, a Bonney Lake resident and junior at Covenant High School, placed third in the 11th and 12th grade poetry category with her poem, “Tuning to Eternity.”
This is Quick’s first submission to the library system’s contest.
She said the poem started out as an assignment for a class, but it took on a life of its own once Quick started considering her own musical experience and weaving it into the poem.
Quick currently plays the viola, but has been involved in music for years with both choir training and piano.
Although musically inclined, Quick is looking at colleges that can get her into the medical field, but she’s yet to make a concrete decision.