Untraditional Valentine’s Day writing contest

David Jenkins

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“This is the second year that we’ve done something like this, [I’m] kind of excited. Last year I had over 30 entries and they were really great. We also had six judges last year, so this is the second annual,” English instructor Erin Cole the creator of the Valentine’s day writing contest said.

The Valentine’s day writing contest is open to the Cerritos college students until Feb 28. Prizes are up for grab to first, second, and third place winners.

The contest is suppose to prompt students to write a 750 word fiction or nonfiction essay about the subject of love. Not just a romantic love between two lovers, but outside the traditional concept of love.

Cole said, “I felt there was an opportunity there, especially because with Valentines day, I feel like it’s a day where it’s just celebrating heterosexual couples all over the place. I really felt that in our student population we have, all forms of love happening here.

“We have same-sex, we have transgender we have inter-racial and inter-cultural. And then you have people who aren’t even in love right now, but they love something else. They may not have romantic love, but have non-romantic toward their children or their siblings […] I wanted to open it up to people who might feel disenfranchise on that day.”

Cole explains that last year’s winner was a woman who wrote about her two sisters and the love that they had for each other. By that, it can be seen that the traditional out look on valentines day is overcome by a different outlook in this contest.

One of the individuals who helped Cole with the idea of this contest is the coordinator of the safe zone program and creative writing instructor Lance Kayser.

“Cole and I are obviously colleagues but also friends and she had come to me with basically the germ of an idea she’s like; ‘I have this idea for valentines day contest, but I don’t want it to be a traditional one that’s so boring lets do something different.’ So I kind of helped [come up with] strategies with her.

We came up with something partly because [… ] I’m the coordinator of the safe zone program on campus and so we tried to strife for something that would fit with people who don’t normally fit into the traditions of valentines day how do we catch those groups of people,” Kayser said.

To enter the contest:

  • Create a Turnitin account by going to Turnitin.com (if you don’t already have one.)
  • Type in the Class ID: 14592857
  • Enter the Password: love
  • Submit your work with your full name, student ID, e-mail address and the title of your story.

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