Vachini High School Writing/Photography Contest Attracts Record Entries

By Peter Schroeder

            Inspiring students to consider careers in outdoors journalism. That’s the goal of the Vachini High School Writing/Photography Contest, now in its third year, which is sponsored by Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Demonstrating the strong appeal that the outdoors holds for the next generation, the contest this year drew a record number of entries. In the Photography category, 10 students submitted a portfolio of three photos each compared with four students who entered last year. In the Writing category, nine students entered compared with five students last year.

This year the contest was open to juniors and seniors at select high schools in California. In 2023, all California high schools will be eligible.

Writers submit a minimum of 500 words on any outdoor subject in any style: essay, news article, personal experience, documentary, blog, research study, poetry, etc. Photographers submit a portfolio of three photos of outdoor subjects (fauna, flora, scenic, people).

Each entry is judged by three professional journalists and photographers from OWAC who each write critical evaluations of every submission. All students who enter receive copies of the judges’ comments. In addition, the winners in each category receive cash awards and certificates suitable for framing plus the prestige of recognition by California’s leading organization of outdoor media professionals.

OWAC is proud to sponsor this competition, the only contest of its kind in the State of California that offers cash awards. More than $1,000 is paid out to the winners.

The Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing/Photography Scholarship Fund was established in memory of the wife of Don Vachini, long-time OWAC member and one of California’s foremost outdoor writers and photographers.

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Peter Schroeder


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