For the past nine years, Junior Scholastic®, a social studies magazine for students in grades 6–8, has hosted the Eyewitness to History contest, which encourages students to connect with members of their community, interviewing people who have experienced historic events in person.
This year, we’re thrilled to announce that our grand-prize winner is Olivia Lee, a sixth-grader from Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Olivia interviewed her mother about her incredible experience escaping from Vietnam in 1981 at age 11, after the Vietnam War.
Olivia’s article “Escape by Sea!” details her mother’s harrowing journey in a small, crowded boat, as well as the story of her rescue, her temporary relocation to a refugee camp in Japan, and her eventual move to the United Kingdom. Olivia’s mother, Ha-Van Nguyen, recounts in detail her experience of being stranded at sea for six days with her sister and 23 other people, the hardships they endured, and her motivation for survival. She also shares a message for readers.
In addition to having her article featured in the April 20, 2020, issue of Junior Scholastic, Olivia will also receive $250. Her story can also be read online here.
Congratulations to Olivia and her teacher, Chris Panos, as well as this year’s approximately 400 contest participants and the interviewees who generously shared their powerful experiences!