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BUENA PARK : Essay Winner, 13, Is an Avid Reader

Abby Fung likes to read any book she can get her hands on.

An eighth-grader at Walker Junior High in Buena Park, where she maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, Abby also finds time between books to read the newspaper each day so that she can keep abreast of current events.

This past school term, her love for reading and intense interest in political issues led her to enter an essay contest sponsored by the California Fraternal Order of Police that asked youngsters to express the way they felt about citizens burning the American flag.

“I’d read and heard so much about it, I just had to sit down and write my feelings on the issue,” the 13-year-old honors student said.

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In her essay, Abby wrote: “The flag represents the United States much like the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle or the United States President does.

“To me, the flag shall always remain a symbol of goals and determination, however, and may it wave strongly and proudly, radiating freedom from sea to shining sea and blessing all those who believe in it, as God blesses America in its prosperity and its future.”

Abby’s untitled essay, submitted along with thousands of others, placed first in the statewide contest this month and won her $500, which she promptly banked. Now the aspiring writer-lawyer is contemplating what she’ll write next.

“My family and I only moved here a year or so ago from North Carolina,” Abby said. “And since you don’t make friends that easily when you move to a new place, I read to keep myself occupied. By doing that, I got great new ideas for writing stuff.”

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Abby said she reads more than 10 books a week and has a particular fondness for Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries.

“The thing I love most about reading is that it takes me to other worlds and also builds my vocabulary so I don’t have to run to the dictionary to look up a word every time I write something.”

When she has an idea, Abby said, she types her story on a computer and then prints it out to check for mistakes.

“It really doesn’t take that long to write a story,” she said. “Either I’ll get an idea from the last book, or I’ll combine a variety of situations or personalities I know into some sort of plot.”

Abby added that she prefers to write sad stories because they are more intersting to read.

“When you write about something sad, you can do a lot with it because so much can make you sad,” she said. “But a happy story can be so dull because nobody is happy all the time.”

English and history are her favorite subjects, while math is her least favorite because “it has no creativity,” she said.

Though satisfied with her writing success so far, Abby said she still isn’t convinced that she’ll become a writer.

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“I’ve looked into the possibilities of writing for a career, but most say they don’t make much money,” she said. “This is California. You have to have money. And anyway, lawyers get to write and make money.”


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