La Quinta Creative Writing Program Wins Prestigious Awards

Teacher Amanda LaPera (advisor), Sonny Le, Christine Nguyen, Andy Nguyen (director), and Vincent Quach

The La Quinta High School Creative Writing Program won two awards at the 56th Annual California Student Media Festival. The festival, which exists to celebrate the amazing media and multimedia projects produced by California’s students and teachers, had more than 6,000 student contestants from schools across the state. 

La Quinta High School student filmmakers Andy Nguyen, Vincent Quach, Christine Nguyen, and Sonny Le, led by advisor Amanda LaPera, created the award-winning film  “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way” which took home both the Best Editing and Secondary SEL awards.

“It’s amazing to see our students bringing awareness to a topic as important as mental health, which aligns with the district’s ongoing Choose Wellness campaign initiatives,” said GGUSD Board of Education President Bob Harden. “They’re using their creativity to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in ways that their peers can relate to.”

La Quinta Creative Writing Program students also participated in the 10th Annual California Directing Change Contest, where they tied for third place and received an honorable mention in the Suicide Prevention Category. The third-place tie went to Stella Nguyen, An Nguyen, Athena Nguyen, Caterina Nguyen, and Sydney Hoang Dao for their film titled “Crowd Noises.” While “By Your Side,” a film by Thomas Tran, Brian Nguyen, Brandon Nguyen, Khanh Tran, and Mike Nguyen received honorable mention.

Students in the Creative Writing Program also participated in the GGUSD Choose Wellness campaign. The creative team of Keanu Hua, Michelle Lam, Kayla Nguyen, Hillary Nguyen, and Jacqueline Truong produced an animated short titled “Promise of Oblivion.”