On the Town: Young writers shine at Cabrini Literary Guild event; Eagle Rock Center for the Arts' annual auction

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time," Abraham Lincoln once said.

Hundreds of Catholic high school students interpreted Lincoln's words through essays entered into the Cabrini Literary Guild's Creative Writing competition.

Last Thursday, the Oakmont Country Club was the setting for a luncheon at which four young ladies were honored for their award-winning essays.

Winning first place was Immaculate Heart High School student Krista Gelev. She went home with $1,000 for her efforts. (For the last three years, an Immaculate Heart High School student has nabbed top prize.)

Bishop Conaty-Loretto High School student Emily Garcia was $750 richer, coming in second place. The third place $500 award went to Mayfield Senior High School student Sonya Williams. Katherine Irajpanah, a student at Notre Dame Academy Girls' High School, bagged fourth place, winning $350.

The first-place essay was read aloud by mistress of ceremonies and Pasadena resident Lian Dolan. Young author Gelev wrote lovingly about her relationship with her immigrant mother, present for the ceremony.

Writer and broadcaster Dolan is best known locally for her best-selling novel, "Helen of Pasadena." Dolan's book was nominated for Best Fiction by the Southern California Independent Booksellers.

Dolan directed her remarks to the student writers. "Read a lot. Do a lot. Talk a lot. Write a lot," she said.

She also addressed the honorees' teachers and parents in attendance about the importance of discovering and encouraging young writers.

"I was a huge reader. It didn't occur to me that I could be a writer," Dolan said.

Evidently it didn't occur to anyone else in Dolan's life either. But she wrote in spite of not being encouraged by her parents nor teachers.

Patty Szot, director of the writer awards and luncheon chairperson, introduced the judges who chose the winning essays. They were retired Glendale English teacher Dan Cabrera, author Cecilia Samartin and Laurel Patric, who is the retired director of Glendale libraries. She currently serves as president of the Glendale Library Foundation.

In a nod to technology and convenience, Guild President Marie Urrutia announced that the winning essays can be available online.

The mission of the Cabrini Literary Guild is to assist — financially and otherwise — Catholic and charitable organizations. Through activities, the guild stimulates interest in Catholic literature, thought, action and philanthropy.

More than $100,000 in artwork donated by 100 Los Angeles artists was up for silent auction at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock at its 12th annual art auction benefit. Close to 150 art lovers strolled through two galleries last Saturday to make some art their own.

Glendale residents on hand included Denise Miller, chairperson of the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. Born and raised in Eagle Rock, Miller is a frequent supporter of the center only two blocks from where she grew up. Miller bid big and often but, alas, was outbid on her favorite piece.

Walter and Andrea Yoka of Glendale also made the hop, skip and a jump to Eagle Rock. They successfully bid on Joseph Maruska's "Green Emerald" oil painting.

Renee Dominique, director of development for the center, made her guests comfortable by smoozing and talking up the art. Some of the art wasn't in frames. A sewn fabric purse by Robin Cox, valued at $80, went for a mere $30.

The popular Eagle Rock eatery, Auntie Em's Kitchen, catered the auction. A favorite appetizer was the sundried tomatoes and goat cheese tortes.

The center's mission is to be innovative in providing multidisciplinary, arts-inclusive programming to the diverse communities of northeast Los Angeles… and beyond.


RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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