Two Moraine Valley Community College students were recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community College for writing they submitted to its 2019-20 International Student Literary Competition. The competition included 50 literary works from students at League board colleges, and only 12 awards were presented.

Nicole Dela Rosa, of Burbank, won second place in the Personal Essay category for “Lost Sailor,” and John Guinta, of Evergreen Park, who graduated from Moraine Valley in the summer 2020 semester, won second place in the Poetry category for “Mojave Girl.” His poem is about meeting and dating a girl. The students were encouraged to enter the competition by their communication instructors.

Dela Rosa’s “Lost Sailor” is a perspective of her childhood self when she got her first cat, Fluffy, who was abandoned on a ship by his mother. Despite her lack of confidence in her writing, she does it often for social activities such as role-playing or for engaging in long academic discussions. She is exposed to many stories through her interest in visual arts, public speaking, singing and acting.

“When I won second place, I felt overjoyed to see people actually like my work! It gives me incentive to keep pushing to get better even though I am not the most confident. I value learning every day, so I very much consider writing a passion of mine. It enables me to communicate with others and listen effectively. I still have so much to learn,” Dela Rosa said.

Lisa Couch, instructor of communications and journalism, coordinated Moraine Valley’s entries into the contest. She encourages any student to enter, but she reaches out to specific students she knows who writes fiction or poetry.

“I have found that to be a powerful tool not only to obtain more entries in the contest, but also to encourage students who often don’t realize they are ‘good enough’ to enter. I love to see the look on the face of a student who doesn’t even think he or she is ‘a writer’ when I suggest they enter the contest. That vote of confidence in itself I think is really powerful,” she said.

Each student received a check for $200 and a certificate. Their winning entries also were printed in the League’s literary anthology.