Student Achievements (partial list)

Can a 16-year-old transform herself and 67 kids from Texas to Vietnam in ten months through her novella, CD, and art?  Check out the trailer for Aimee's amazing Wishing Tree and get inspired yourself!

When on a plane to Carnegie Hall to see her 13-year-old student honored for her novel, Clarissa watched Sir Ken Robinson discuss how the American education system leeches creativity out of kids.  This caught her attention as for 17 years, Clarissa has developed a method to unleash every child's creative streak--from the troubled kid to the prodigy to every kid in between. 

TEDx Redmond 2011



6 of Clarissa's students to speak at TED conference at Microsoft in front of 750

Congratulations to my six students who were invited to speak at the TEDx Redmond conference at Microsoft.  They spoke about their humanitarian accomplishments in front of an audience of 750, and the event was filmed as part of an ABC News documentary.

The TED conference is highly respected, and only the most amazing people in the world are invited to speak.  Bill Gates, Philippe Starck, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, and JJ Abrams are a few.  For the adult conference, it costs a minimum of $6,000 to even be in the audience, and it is by invitation only.  However, you can see the TED talks free here.

There are only 23 speakers a year at TEDx Redmond, so I am very proud that six of them are my students.  


Cameron, 12



Discovery Girls’ Top 12 Role Model (in North America), Butterfly Caretaker, Cam’s Caring Cakes Founder, Educational Filmmaker, Internationally Published Humor Writer

Cam as Aug 2011 Amazing Kid of the Month


MaCall, 17



Nationally ranked writer, dancer, and former Junior Olympic gymnast; working Hollywood actress; founded MoonMan Reviews; aviation and circus aerial tissue dabbler

MaCall dancing (MaCall is the blonde in the center)

MaCall’s book review website for kids


Stephanie, 17



Founded the non-profit R.A.I.S.E. Guatemala to help orphans and “dump kids” through her photography, nationally published and award-winning photographer and equestrian.

Steph’s non-profit

Steph’s photo business

Stephanie graduated from Duke and is now a product designer for Facebook.

Conor and Kendall, 17 and 16



Founded the non-profit PLANETLifeFORCE for Zambian orphans, movie stunt practitioners, novelists, travel blog for kids founders, and award-winning equestrians.

            Conor & Kendall's non-profit

            Conor & Kendall's travel blog

Carter, 15 TEDx Redmond 2012

Founded the non-profit Students for Safe Water, which raised $80,000 to bring fresh running water and sanitation systems to Nicaraguan villages.  Carter won the Dighu Humanitarian Award at TEDx Redmond 2012 for speaking about how toilets save lives and has since spoken in front of 10,000 people.  Carter is a GenerationOn Hasbro Community Action Hero, a Carson Scholar, and a Montage Hero of the Month.  He has also been honored with a Gold Medal Presidential Volunteer Award, Kohl's Cares award, Point of Light Award, Disney Friends for Change grant, and a matching $20,000 grant from PepsiCo.  He is also a published writer and photographer.

        Carter's non-profit: 

Elizabeth, 15 TEDxYouth@Electric Avenue 2013

Elizabeth, Founder and Chief Baker of Piggalicious bacon s’mores, admits that the weirdest thing about her is that she likes vegetables, including, but not limited to: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and carrots.  Currently, she is writing a series that involves her house getting kidnapped by aliens with her brother inside.  At first, Elizabeth thinks it’s the best thing that ever happened to her, but then realizes that now she’ll have no one to torment.  As for hobbies, she enjoys smashing balls on the tennis court and playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl with her brother.  However, she always loses.   

Besides tennis, you will most likely find her traveling the world with her orchestra, performing everywhere from Santiago de Compostela to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  She is a nationally published gold medalist poet after being the only young person in the nation last year to win

Scholastic’s creative writing award for social issues, in which she wrote about the Taliban acid gun blinding of Afghan schoolgirls in Kandahar.  Elizabeth’s fondest wish is to one day own a dog of her own, but all her mom says is, “When you’re older, you can pay for your own.”  Elizabeth hopes one day to sell enough cookies to buy a dog.  Donations gladly accepted.

Congratulations to 15-year-old Lexi, whose creative rhyming poem book about hand-washing will be published and distributed to thousands of kids in Nicaragua by a NGO.

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Carnegie Hall, New York

  • 14 students win 38 multi-state awards (6 gold keys, 18 silver keys, 14 honorable mentions in eight states); 2014-15
    • Out of 320,000 entries, 5-7% win gold keys, 7-10% win silver keys, and 10-15% win honorable mentions
  • 24 students win 76 multi-state awards (23 gold keys, 19 silver keys, 34 honorable mentions in ten states) and five national medals (one gold); 2013-14
    • Out of 255,000 entries, 6.5% win gold keys, 10-15% win silver, and 15-20% win honorable mentions.  Less than 1% win national medals
    • Jennifer, 15, won Best in Grade for Poetry (two given in the world)

  • 17 students win 50 multi-state awards (11 gold keys, 27 silver keys, 12 honorable mentions) and two national medals (2 gold); 2012-13
    • Out of 230,000 entries, 6.5% win gold keys, 10-15% win silver, and 15-20% win honorable mentions.  Less than 1% win national medals
    • Caroline, 13 and Elizabeth, 15 won national gold medals

  • 16 students win 47 multi-state awards (12 gold keys, 15 silver keys, 20 honorable mentions) and four national medals (2 silver, 2 gold); 2011-12
    • Out of 200,000 entries, 6.5% win gold keys, 15% win silver keys, and 20% win honorable mentions.  Less than 1% win national medals
    • Sarah, 16, wins an American Voices Award (only five art and writing entries from 9 states in the Western region are chosen)
    • Sydney (13), Carter (15), and Christine (16) are published by Scholastic
    • Carter and Christine are honored by the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities in Washington, D.C.  Their published work is exhibited at Scholastic's ART.WRITE.NOW.DC at the Department of Education.

  • Elizabeth and MaCall, ages 13 and 16:  Two national gold medals for poetry and short story; 2010-11
    • 1% of 20,000 entries win
    • Elizabeth also won a $1,000 Creativity & Citizenship Award (only one C&C writing award is given among 20,000 applicants) and got published by Scholastic
    • My students also won 17 gold keys in a region that spanned 26 states and 10 countries (13% of 7,000 win)

  • Edward, age 15: One national gold medal for poetry (there were only four national gold medalists in the entire state of California); 2009-10 (15 of my students also won 20 state awards; my students won 13% of the awards given in the state of California)
    • 1% of 40,000 entries win gold nationally, 8% win in California

  • MaCall and Tessa, ages 14 and 12: Two national silver medals for humor and short story writing; 2008-09 (7 of my students also won 15 state awards)
    • 2% of 20,000 entries win nationally, 10% win in California

  • Kendell, age 13:  National silver medal for her novel, Miss Lavender Venumn; 2007-08
    • 6 winners out of 561 entries in the nation (1 gold and 5 silvers)
    • Miss Lavender Venumn is the spank-a-holic owner of a School for Happy Orphans
    • 3 of my students also won 4 state awards

  • Colin, age 13:  Two national gold medals for short stories, 1 silver national for poetry; 2006-07
    • Out of 33,000 writing entries in the nation grades 7-12, 1% won


Over 450 publications in the Los Angeles Times from 2005-present

  • In addition, nine of her students are the first children in history to be offered adult writer's contracts by the L.A. Times.  Two of them have been published there 15 and 13 times.


Discovery Girls Top 12 Role Model Contest (2010-11)

  • Of 2,000 entries in the U.S. and Canada, there were 30 finalists and 12 winners.  Of these, one winner and three finalists were my students.
  • Winners were flown to San Francisco for a magazine shoot and were featured in Discovery Girls Magazine Collector's Edition.
  • My winner's memoir was also featured in a two page spread in the June/July 2011 issue.

Scholastic Kid Reporter

  • Of the 5 winners in CA and 46 kid reporters in the nation, one is my student; 2010

Amazing Kid of the Month
  • Five of my students are chosen to be Amazing Kid of the Month by this international non-profit for their humanitarian work; 2011

One Boy and His Cow Films’ International Writing-for-TV Contest

  • Winning entry made into a TV series filmed on an elephant reserve in India
  • 2 of the 14 finalists were my students; 2006


Merlyn's Pen International Humor Writing Contest

  • 3 out of the 12 winners in the world were my students (500 entries); 2010

Adventures in Writing Contest (sponsored by Wells Fargo, the Ford Motor Company, the Irvine Barclay Theater, and the Allergan Foundation) 

  • Winning entries are professionally illustrated and published
  • 5 out of the 14 winners were my students in 2006
  • 6 out of the 12 winners were my students in 2008 (the contest is held every other year)

Laguna Beach Library Poetry Contest (judged by professors and publishing industry professionals)

  • 9 of the 23 winners are my students (200 entries; 2011)
  • 8 of 18 winners are my students (200 entries, 2010)

OC Department of Education Young Author's Faire
  • 4 of my students' stories are performed as plays by the Imagination Machine (9 of 1500 entries are chosen); 2011

Eight of Clarissa's students have won all-expense paid trips to scuba dive and save endangered fish in the Virgin Islands, study mammals in Nova Scotia, and clam-dig to research riparian life in the Mississippi.  

Congratulations to 11-year-old Cameron, who won the coveted feature cover story spot in the international children's magazine Stone Soup.  The online version of her published illustrated story can be read and heard here.

Congratulations to Tony, 13, who was one of the 5% to win the L.A. Times Travel Photo contest, 2012. 

I have a 15-year-old student who formerly hated writing who has been published twice in the international children’s magazine Stone Soup, once in a McGraw-Hill backpack reader, and twice in McGraw Hill’s standardized tests.  He was honored at Carnegie Hall last year with two gold medals and one silver.


I have a 14-year-old who already has 200 pages of her novel who was one of the finalists in an international writing-for-TV competition.  In addition to being ranked 13th in the U.S. as a Junior Olympic rhythmic gymnast, MaCall wins national dance competitions and has won principal roles on Ugly Betty and Without a Trace.  If she ever sells her novel and makes it into a movie, she would like to create a writing hut in a tree.