While she has always enjoyed writing stories, she had never considered developing her talent more. Upon receiving positive feedback on her writing from her English teacher and her mother, she began to practice and write more. “It was difficult at first, but as I wrote more, my writing improved,” said Saad. The encouragement led her to consider entering a writing competition. After researching literary competitions hosted by credible organizations, Saad decided to enter the Scholastic Art & Writing regional competition. She figured she could gain some valuable experience and learn how the competition works so that she would be prepared to enter again next year.
Saad wrote and entered four original short stories in four different categories: climate change, humor, science fiction, and broad short stories. Her winning story, “Our Last Dance,” is about a girl hoping to make a living as a photographer who travels to Paris where she meets a charming boy with deceitful intentions. Saad’s entry, along with all other student entries, were blindly judged by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts. Her work earned a Silver Key Award by exemplifying the awards’ core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision.
Through her research of the competition, she also learned about the Scholastic Awards Summer (SAS) Scholarship program, which teaches students the foundations and principles of art and writing. Saad applied to the SAS Scholarship Program and is eagerly awaiting to hear if she has been accepted.
“I always love reading articles about kids and young adults who have become very successful and well-known at a young age – it inspires me to continue developing my craft,” said Saad. “Authors Rick Riordan, Mackenzi Lee, and Neal Shusterman truly inspire me as a writer. I absolutely love to read, but I didn’t always. I first fell in love with reading when I was introduced to Rick Riordan’s work, and the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. After reading Mackenzi Lee’s amazing historical fiction, I’ve been even more motivated to enhance my writing skills.”
Saad is new to ESUSD this year and has already made new friends despite beginning high school solely in distance learning. She says that her favorite ESHS class is English. “My teacher, Mr. Tacsik, has a fun and engaging teaching style.” She takes advantage of the time she has before classes start and during lunch to complete assignments so she has more free time for her favorite extra-curricular activities, writing and music.
Saad plays five instruments: cello, violin, piano, clarinet, and the Hulusi (a small wind instrument of Chinese origin similar to a recorder). She has played piano the longest, beginning at the age of 5, but the cello is her favorite instrument to play. She plays the cello for the ESHS Symphony Orchestra, violin and Hulusi for the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra, and clarinet for the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. In addition, she takes private cello lessons at the Playa Music School and private piano lessons with an individual instructor.
Her passion for music led her to apply for an internship with Seaside Strings in El Segundo. As an intern, she observes virtual music classes and sometimes assists with teaching students. Saad also volunteers at her church, Faith Tabernacle in Los Angeles, by assisting with the younger children’s Sunday school.
After graduating from high school, Saad plans to attend college. She dreams of attending an Ivy League university to study English or history. She is especially fascinated by the history of the 18th and 19th centuries. She is considering a future career as a historian so she can combine her passion for history and writing.
Read LaVie Saad’s award-winning short story, “Our Last Dance,” here.