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Joyce Tao named top entry in writing competition

June 18, 2020

Cheshire Academy is celebrating a young writer with immense talent. As part of the ASAP! 2020 Celebration of Young Writers, Joyce Tao ’21 was selected in the Top 32 for her entry “A Bird’s Funeral.” The competition had 150 submissions from 55 schools across Connecticut.


Writing, as a form of communication, inspires Tao and challenges her to think beyond the surface. “Compared to speaking, writing allows people to take their time and think in depth. These ideas may be fragmented in the brain, but they become clear when written down,” Tao shared.


“A Bird’s Funeral” is inspired by the novel “The Stranger,” written by Albert Camus. “I really like his sense of indifference and dislocation between his world and the real world,” Tao explained.


Tao’s story focuses on a teenage boy trying to make his way in the world. “He has his way of thinking, which is different from others,” Tao said. “He presents as an outsider to society and its rules.”


Staff at the Center for Writing, focused on developing young writers at CA and assisting students throughout all phases of the writing process, informed Tao of the competition and encouraged her to enter. She never thought she would be recognized.


“I was really surprised,” admitted Tao. “It motivated me because I am not super confident in my writing skills. This award gives me confidence and encourages me to write more and express more.”


Read “A Bird’s Funeral” below:


School is finally over. It is between five or six o’clock in the afternoon, maybe, I don’t know. As the bell rings, my body responds to the sound and acts on its own. When I stand up, an awful cracking sound comes from my spine, as usual. My teacher smiles at me and asks if I played too many video games last night. I said “Yes’ ‘, so that I do not need to reply anything further. She walks me outside the room and taps on my shoulder when she leaves. I wait for my mom in the front door just so she could see me. It is very cold, a strong wind blows and carries the soil. My eyes are stinging and my coat balloon in the high wind. A bird hit my legs, maybe it is dead, I can’t tell. I pick it up while my mom arrives. She studies it on my hand and says, “Let’s bury the poor little thing, shall we?” Just then, my friend Tom comes out behind me. He mumbles a little. “We should make a funeral for it.” He is heading toward the flowers on the side of the road when I stop him. I turn to mom, “We should take this bird home because father likes to eat the toasted bird.” She is quiet and I am embarrassed because I feel I should not say that. She starts to scrunch her clothes and then looks at me, “Honey, death is a sad thing. I think Tom is right. We should make a funeral together. you are going to join us right? “At that point, Tom goes to pick the flower. I am not unhappy about having a funeral, but it is weird for me to kill flowers for a bird’s funeral. That doesn’t mean anything. The sky is already dark orange, and they put dead flowers around the dead bird. I don’t understand.