Friday, May 8, 2015

Announcing the Winners of the 18th Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest

The American Immigration Council Announces the Winners of the
18th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest

May 8, 2015

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce that the first place winner of the American Immigration Council’s 18th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest is Anya Frazer from the Fred A. Olds Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Anya’s poem was chosen from among thousands of entries nationwide. Her poem describes a mixture of emotions: hope, tension, and sadness that can accompany an immigrant’s journey to the U.S. Anya writes in her poem:

On each ship,

A flicker of hope,

A flash blinding my endless waters,

But then it’s gone.

Like a burnt out fire,

Trying to reignite.

But as they catch sight of the golden land,

That fire begins to glow.

It spreads out wide like a seed to soil,

Its timid shoots poking out of the ground.


To read the entirety of the winning entry click here.

2015 Grand Prize Winner Anya Frazer
Inspired by her own family’s German and Irish heritage, Anya said in an interview “I feel that it is important for people to understand and think about what immigrants will do to be part of a free land.” When asked about how immigration has affected her life, Anya described how family members on her mother’s side immigrated to the U.S. in order to escape the war and how she values the German customs that are still apart of her family’s traditions.

The second place winner is Zoe Maria Brown from Seattle, Washington, and the third place winner is Olga Rocio Rivas from Miami, Florida. Honorable mentions were awarded to Ben Busschaert from Pelham, New York, Heather Lyons from San Diego, California, and to Severn Sienkiewicz from Livingston, Montana.

Anya will read her poem and receive her award at the American Immigration Council’s Annual Benefit in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2015 and it will be read into the Congressional Record.  All top six winners will have a flag flown over the Capitol.

The celebrity judges of the national contest include Gerda Weissman-Klein, founder of Citizenship Counts, Edwidge Danticat, author and National Book Award finalist, Valentino Achak Deng, Minister of Education in South Sudan, and Charlotte Leigh, our 2014 Grand Prize winner.

21 Chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association participated in the contest. The top entry from each participating Chapter was judged by a panel of immigration experts who chose the top five entries sent to the celebrity judges.

2015 marks the American Immigration Council’s 18th Annual Creative Writing Contest, a national contest for fifth grade students. The contest provides youth with an opportunity to learn more about immigration to the U.S. and to explain, in their own words, why they are proud America is a nation of immigrants.  


For more information contact Claire Tesh at or 202-507-7518.

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