You will certainly notice the display panels in our library rotunda of winners in the Growing Up Asian in America competition for essays and art composed on the theme of Winning and Losing, Competition and Teamwork.  Growing Up Asian in America was created in 1995 by local media, public relations and community leaders, to create a single Bay Area resource for celebrating national Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May. 

Growing Up Asian in America begins each year with an annual essay and art competition for students in grades kindergarten through 12.  More than 1,000 Bay Area students compete for savings bond awards and merchandise prizes totaling $27,000.  The winning entries are hosted on the Asian Pacific Fund (APF) website http://www.asianpacificfund.org/awards/guaa/ , and in a commemorative book. 

The Asian Pacific Fund selects a new theme each year for the Growing Up Asian in America contest, and since the Beijing Summer Olympics took place in 2008, students of Asian-American background were invited to share their ideas on winning and losing.  It is a widely held stereotype that Asian parents in particular expect their children to excel in school, and the APF wanted to know how common this expectation for excellence actually is.  How do competition and teamwork fit into students’ drive to succeed?

From the entries that were submitted, it seems like Asian-American youth do indeed feel enormous pressure from their parents to excel, not just in school, but in other areas, too.  Entries revealed quite a range of responses to that pressure.  Many students felt regret about doing well when it meant a good friend would lose, while others found new friends when they cooperated with teammates and opponents.  Competition in sports was often a relief from academic pressures, since many students enjoyed sports because they could try their best without feeling like they always had to win.  Regardless of the roles that competition and teamwork play in students’ lives, it is very important for young people to find ways to cope with whatever pressures they feel.  The APF and Dublin Library hope the essays and art work displayed here will help our diverse communities develop and understanding how young people come to terms with how they compete against and work with one another.

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