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Essay Contest


Previous College Books

Nomination Form
nominations for
2018-19 are now CLOSED


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2016-17 Essay Contest
[printable pdf]

Chaffey’s 2016-2017 College Book, Eleanor & Park, is the story of two teenage misfits who fall in love over comic books and mix tapes in 1980s Nebraska. Eleanor has a troubled home life and finds no escape at school, where she is relentlessly teased about her size and her bright red hair. Park comes from a stable, loving family but feels pressured by his dad’s expectations of masculinity and is self-conscious about being one of the only Asian kids in town. In each other, Eleanor and Park seek validation of their uniqueness and a refuge from the tumult and pressures of high school and home.

The One Book, One College Committee invites you to submit an original essay that relates to Eleanor & Park. You might tell a story about being bullied or harassed, about standing up for yourself, or about befriending an outcast. You can describe a time when you felt self-conscious or embarrassed or a time when you confidently embraced your identity. You may choose to share an anecdote from your teenage years, perhaps one about dating, or your first love, or your first kiss, or PE, or Prom, or fighting, or riding the bus, or sneaking out, or getting your driver’s license. You might write about being kicked out of the house, or running away, or enduring parental disappointment, neglect, or abuse; conversely, you could write about an instance when you felt your family’s love and support. You can relate a tale about feeling judged because of your gender or race; living in the Midwest; living in the eighties; immersing yourself in pop culture or a hobby; experiencing romance or heartbreak; being helped by a counselor, teacher, or friend; missing someone or reconnecting with a person from your past; growing up with lots of siblings or in poverty; or bringing someone home to meet your family. In fact, you are invited to submit any essay that clearly connects with Eleanor & Park.

Deadline: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by 1:00 pm

Submit a hard copy of your essay to Mary Thomas in Language Arts Room 107 on the Rancho Campus any time before the deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted. Please do not write your name on the essay; instead, include a separate cover sheet with the title of your essay, your name, phone number, and student ID number. Please also include your title on the first page of the essay and number your pages. Essays should be between two and five double-spaced pages and will be judged on originality, compelling content, and the quality of written expression.

Finalists will receive a cash prize and will read their essays at an awards ceremony in April, 2017.

For more information, contact Professor Neil Watkins (652-6952,
or Professor Deckard Hodge (652-6924,

Rev. 9/14/16

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