Spread the Love: Valentines’ Writing Competition 2023 Results


Thank you to everyone who participated in Open Canvas’ first writing competition!

Wren Bulawin and Jessica Rios

As the season of love and friendship comes to an end, so does our 2023 Valentines’ Writing Competition. Thank you to all the writers who participated in this month’s Open Canvas competition! Each piece displayed talent, thought, and creativity that was truly inspiring and beautiful to read, and all of us at The Bulldog Times enjoyed going through every submission. But for those who were unable to participate this time, don’t worry—Open Canvas will host more opportunities for writers and artists alike to showcase their talents in the near future!


Now, without further ado, our winning pieces for this month’s competition are:

First place: “My Love” by Caroline Schwartz (11)

“Caroline’s piece of writing is sad, yet broken down to the point, in which you can understand her feelings and her passion along with her heart. Here, she points out the important details in what she is feeling, which we can all relate to at some point, showing significant growth that’s important to keep us going to only know that we have ourselves in the end, and everything must also come to an end.” – Angelique Taylor, Staff Writer

“As I read Caroline’s submission, I noticed her writing style didn’t have to be complex to create a deep connection with the audience. The simplicity of her words allowed me to make a connection with her. Although she was talking about herself in the writing, I found myself saying those words to someone else. I liked how you could interpret her writing and have different targeted audiences, this was just for her but it’s the meaning behind those words that touch your heart.” – Kim Flores, Historian, Staff Writer


Second place: “Latibule” by Autumn Velarde (12)

“This participant’s literature piece exquisitely illustrates the warmth experienced in a wholesome friendship. The short story vividly describes the bond between King and Angel and portrays a mutually beneficial friendship built amongst trust, understanding, and compassion. Not only does the author depict the love and sincerity in their friendship, she also portrays the hardships in a relationship like uncertainty and self-doubt. The genuine feelings of belonging and companionship leaves the audience in delight as the story comes to an end. Lastly, this piece demonstrates a sophisticated use of language and writing skills which is what makes this submission stand out.” – Elaine Kuang, Staff Writer

“’Latibule,’ like its namesake, is a heartwarming story of two characters, hidden by sheets, finding solace in one another; they know nothing, yet everything, about each other. It’s a comforting tale of finding the one who believes in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself–something that, surely, a lot of us need right now. I appreciated the simple yet beautiful world-building, style, and imagery, but most of all appreciated how the story told me the words I’ve needed to hear for so long. I hope this story brings comfort to its future readers, as well.” – Wren Bulawin, Open Canvas Manager 


 Third place: “Flowers for You” by Jen Reclusado (12)

“Not only is it visually appealing, I found the poem really heartfelt and deep. I loved how Nathalie used flowers as a symbol of love progression in her poem. This metaphorical comparison is definitely different from one’s typical interpretation of flowers from other pieces of writing, as flowers usually represent the already-present love for one another, yet in this case, she used it as representation of her hesitant love initiations. Moreover, I truly enjoyed the constant questions she added in between lines, as it really displayed her crush’s mysteriousness and her personal curiosities from persistent and specific wonders.” – Adrielle Dumadan, Staff Writer

“’Flowers for You’ is the lighthearted message of a heavy-hearted subject, something that pierces the hearts of teenagers whose idea of companionship is still trivial and naïve, yet tender and real. The symbolism of the flowers throughout the poem isn’t over superficial or cliché, and isn’t overused either. There’s meaning in the verses and it strays from most of the conventional poetry tropes that people think of using. ‘Flowers for You’ was certainly the best submission.” – Avery Rosas, Sports Editor


Congratulations to our winners! Make sure to stop by at room B103 with your student ID to claim your gift card. 

You can read the winning submissions right now by clicking the hyperlinks above, or checking out the Open Canvas tab. All other submissions will also be rolled out biweekly on the Open Canvas tab, so make sure to check back each week to read your fellow Bulldogs’ amazing creative writing pieces!