Growing Up Asian in America, the largest celebration of Asian heritage in the United States, with prizes totaling $27,000, is a signature program of the Asian Pacific Fund. Created to promote understanding throughout the Bay Area among people of all backgrounds, the Asian Pacific Fund encourages K-12 student to express their ideas through creative writing and art.
With the Beijing Summer Olympics coming up, this year’s theme, “Winning and Losing” is very timely. Here are some words from the organizers about what inspired it an what sort of responses they got to it:
It is a widely-held stereotype that Asian parents expect their children to excel in school, and we wanted to know how common this expectation for excellence actually is. How does competition and teamwork fit into students’ drive to succeed?
The students who participated in the contest (over 1,000 entries were received this year) shared with us dilemmas they have faced and the difficult lessons they learned about sportsmanship, failure, humility and excellence. From the entries that emerged, it seems like Asian youth feel enormous pressure from their parents to excel, not just in school but in other areas too. Yet we also found quite a range of responses to that pressure. For example, many students felt regret about doing especially well when it meant a good friend would lose, and others unexpectedly found new friends when they cooperated with teammates and opponents. Competition in sports was often a relief from academic pressures, and many students enjoyed sports precisely because they could try their best without feeling like they always had to win.
We hope these essays and artwork will help our diverse communities to develop an understanding of how young people come to terms with how they compete against and work with one another.
Between May and December 2008, the winning entries will be featured in community exhibits at various Bay Area public libraries and seen by over one million people. So keep your eyes peeled and don’t miss the opportunity, if you are in or near the area.