Huang wins prestigious poetry award

May 26, 2009 — by Lauren Kuan and Pia Mishra

Like many students in high school, current senior Jason Huang experienced confusion in deciding which classes to select in high school. After completing English 9, Huang was encouraged to continue writing by poetry teacher Judith Sutton and moved on to take Poetry 1 his sophomore year. Huang, however, never could have imagined how much he could achieve in poetry, winning one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the nation this year.

The Cult Award, the most prestigious award give by the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, is reserved for the best overall poet in their annual nationwide poetry competition. The Cult Award has only been won once before by Saratoga alumna. Huang said that he was surprised that he had won, especially since the poem he submitted, titled “Masterpiece”, was written during his sophomore year.

Huang enjoyed his first year of poetry, but, he was unable to continue to Poetry 2 because of scheduling conflicts. In fact Huang was unable to fit poetry into his schedule again until second semester of senior year.

“I was planning on just relaxing second semester, but then it turned out that I actually had to focus on my work for that class,” said Huang.

By the time Huang started again, he already had 13 poems under his belt, all of which he had written during his sophomore year. Once the deadline for the submissions had come around, Huang picked what he felt were his top poems and submitted them to the contest. The poem was one about his younger brother, Vincent.

“I wasn’t thinking too much about chances. I just submitted what I liked and hoped for the best, “ said Huang.

After winning awards in multiple categories, Huang said he hadn’t expected to win, especially with the disadvantage of taking a year and a half off from poetry. Much to his surprise, however, after being forced to travel to Modesto to attend the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, convention, Huang was presented with the Cult Award.

“My mom told me that we were going to Modesto and I didn’t really know why but I didn’t say anything, “ said Huang. “By the time I was presented with the award, I realized that my mom had been in on it the whole time because she had already found out.”

Sutton was not surprised, as Huang’s talent had been clear from the start.

“Jason is a very talented young man and I was extremely proud when I had found out about the award,” said Sutton. “This was not only an achievement for Jason, but an achievement for Saratoga as well.”

Huang has been enjoying the benefits as well, even having an unusual experience at the conference.

“It was pretty cool, I had people coming up to me asking for autographs and stuff. It’s something I definitely will not forget for a long time to come,” he said.

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