AlKasaji ’21 Wins Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Literary Award

Last week, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF) announced the winners of the 17th Annual Creativity Awards for Children and Youth (Abde’), with King’s Academy student Layan AlKasaji ’21 named as one of 23 overall winners from among the competition’s 745 participants.

The competition, established by AHSF in 1988, aims to promote a culture of creativity through the discovery of talented students between the ages of eight and 18. The competition considers literary creativity, artistic creativity, performing arts, and scientific innovation.

AlKasaji’s essay about distance learning during COVID-19 times, in which she encourages people to focus on the pandemic’s advantages “because we have to adjust to it,” qualified her for the second round, along with around 200 others. The semi-finalists then participated in workshops that aimed to build their capabilities further.

AlKasaji’s writing workshop was led by Jordanian writer and journalist Sameh Mahareeg. “This was one of the best experiences by far,” says AlKasaji. “We engaged in discussions, learned many writing techniques, and I shared my writing with my peers and made friends. I was surrounded by a group of writers, deep readers and intellectuals, which was not very different from King’s.”

After the workshops, the participants used what they learned to produce a final piece. AlKasaji won in the 16-18 age group from among 33 finalists for her essay about the importance of teaching English in schools.

“Winning this contest means a lot to me because [my teacher] Mr. Atef Abu Sarris always encouraged me to participate in competitions and to publish my work,” says AlKasaji.

Last week, Abu Sarris, who was one of the school’s longest-standing faculty members of Arabic, passed away. “He was the first to believe in my abilities and support me. For that reason, I dedicate this award to Mr. Atef Abu Sarris.”

Watch award ceremony

Read Shoman Foundation news article

See photos on Shoman Foundation Facebook page

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