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Students Bare Souls in ‘That Time’ Writing Contest
Saturday, April 16, 2022


“I felt for the first time that I could breathe. I had a teacher who I could talk to in my language without having to be left out.”

That’s a paragraph from Maria Guadalupe Reyes’ winning essay in this year’s writing competition, “That Time I Knew I Belonged.”

Reyes and Alexis Macias won $500 first-place awards in the annual competition sponsored by The Alliance of Idaho and Sun Valley Museum of Art. Luke Mauldin and Keyle Potts received $250 second-place awards, and Saharay Carrillo won a $100 third-place award.

The students will be feted with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, on the lawn of The Museum’s Hailey Classroom at 2nd Avenue South and Pine Street in Hailey. Students will read their essay during the reception, which is open to the public.

“I am so impressed by the students’ openness and courage on the page. We are grateful to work with SVMoA to provide scholarships to support students’ continued learning as they follow their dreams,” said Becky Lopez, executive director of The Alliance.

“Not only are these essays well written but they are brave stories that speak to the challenges of making your way in the world with integrity and honesty,” added Kristin Poole, artistic director of SVMoA. “For the Alliance and SVMoA to be able to honor these young people and give them a tiny boost on their journey is the definition of ‘community.’ ”

Some excerpts from the students’ writing:

  • “I am done making myself uncomfortable to make others feel more comfortable,” wrote Alexis Macias.
  • “It’s sometimes hard to feel like I belong in this world, but art continues to show me why I belong, every day. I have learned that any work I have to do or obstacle I need to overcome, I belong in the world, and my abilities will always belong to me,” wrote Luke Mauldin.
  • “I thought strength came from me carrying my burdens, but I realized strength comes from sharing hardships and being open to the support of others. At that moment I knew it was okay to not be perfect,” wrote Keyle Potts.
  • “Sabes a veces tenemos problemas en la vida que vemos impossible de superar, pero recuerda que si duele es por que esta funcionando, nada es facil en esta vida pero si te esfuerzas creeme que tendra fruto. You know sometimes we have problems in life that we see as impossible to overcome, but remember that if it hurts it is because it is working, nothing is easy in this life but if you make an effort believe me it will bear fruit,” wrote Saharay Carrillo.

The Alliance of Idaho, founded to protect the human rights of immigrants and their families, and Sun Valley Museum of Art plan to hold the writing competition again in 2023. For more information, visit

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