English teachers treat ‘Canterbury Tales’ contest winners to dinner

January 28, 2010 — by Tiffany Tung

When new English 12 teacher Valerie Arbizu came to the school this past fall, she brought along her own traditions from years of teaching at Evergreen High School in San Jose. While there, she held an annual Canterbury Tales contest. She decided to continue the contest this year with her senior classes, and English 12 teacher Erick Rector and AP Language teacher Ken Nguyen also decided to participate.

The students in these classes wrote their own tale using the style and conventions of “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Rector and Arbizu had the students’ peers choose the winners while Nguyen chose the winners based on who wrote the most “Chaucer-esque” tale.

“Because the purpose of the characters telling the tales in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ is a contest—the character that tells the best tale in the story will enjoy a dinner at the expense of the other characters in the collection. It was only fitting to have students read their tales aloud and have their peers vote on the tale they enjoyed most,” said Arbizu. “The winners of the competition were selected by their peers in class—and the classes chose very well!”

The dinner for the four winners from Rector and Arbizu’s classes, seniors Alice Curtis, Jian Lee, Kayla Epsman and Sonya Brenner, take place Jan. 22 at BJ’s Restaurant in Cupertino.

Nguyen’s dinner for his seven winners, seniors Sung Park, Annie Lee, Mira Chaykin, Alexa Francis, Ashwin Siripurapu, Daniel Chan and Vivian Hsiao, was scheduled to take place Feb. 4 at a family-styled Chinese restaurant.

“[The dinner] was a little awkward,” said senior Jian Lee, “Mr. Rector tried to make it a little less awkward, but it didn’t really help,” “It was glad that I went, though. It was fun and I would do it again.”

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