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Red Banyan Group client AILA South Florida was highlighted yesterday in The Miami Herald’s Community Voices section for its regional sponsorship of the Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest, in which local student Olga Rocio Rivas placed third nationally. The organization also hosted an event at Rivas’ school, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, last Friday to honor her and fellow local winners for their creative writing entries celebrating immigration.

AILA South Florida is one of the largest and most respected chapters of the national American Immigration Lawyers Association. The chapter’s attorneys work hard to facilitate the administration of justice for immigrants in our legal system. Learn more about the organization at http://www.ailasouthflorida.org.

Read yesterday’s story from The Miami Herald below or online at: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/community-voices/article23043057.html

Young writer honored

Congratulations to Olga Rocio Rivas for her third-place win in the national Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. Olga, a student at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, titled her essay “America Believes.” She placed first in the regional competition in which dozens of entries from South Florida fifth graders were considered.

The event is sponsored nationally by the American Immigration Council (AIC), and locally, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) South Florida Chapter. It encourages students to write about why they are glad America is a nation of immigrants. This is the second year that our regional winner has placed nationally.

Olga was honored in a recent ceremony at school along with her two Carrollton classmates who placed second and third in the regional contest.

Torivia Castro won second place with her “In The Land of Tomorrow,” and Alexandra Dominguez placed third with her “Untitled” entry. The inspiring teachers of these young writers also were recognized at the local ceremony.

“We congratulate Olga Rocio Rivas for her placing nationally in the Celebrate America contest with her wonderful piece on the importance of immigration to America,” said AILA South Florida President Jacob Ratzan in a release. “Our local competition received an incredible number of wonderful and insightful entries, and it’s a remarkable honor to once again have South Florida represented among the national winners.”

In recognition of Olga’s accomplishment, a flag will be flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor, and her writing will be published in Skipping Stones magazine, a multicultural publication for youth that “encourages communication, cooperation, creativity and celebration of cultural and environmental richness.”

The essays in the national competition were reviewed by renowned judges including Gerda Weissmann Klein, founder of Citizenship Counts; Edwidge Danticat, author and National Book Award finalist; Valentino Achak Deng, the Minister of Education in South Sudan; and Charlotte Leigh, the contest’s 2014 Grand Prize winner.

AILA South Florida is encouraging local schools and teachers to include the contest as they plan their curriculums for the upcoming school year.

To learn more visit http://www.celebrateamericawritingcontest.org/