Awards Announced in Union’s Writing Contest

Here are the 2019 Writing Contest winners. Seated, from left to right, are Rebekah Mirang, Priscilla Assifuah, Amira Shimin, Lhakpa Sherpa, and Eishika Ahmed. Top row: HTC Assistant Director of Organizing Arisha Sierra-Blas, Timothy Nguyen, Former Executive Director of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Evelyn Jones Rich, Alexander Thaniotis and HTC Director of Organizing Julia Rybak. Missing from this photo are Din Kastrat and Omar Kastrat, who were away at school.

Hotel Voice — October 04, 2019

The Union’s writing contest is an annual competition that awards cash prizes and bragging rights to high school students whose parents are members of the Hotel Trades Council and/or Local 6. Since its inception, the contest has revealed that there are many talented and intelligent young adults in our union’s family. The 2019 contest was no different. Like its predecessors, this year’s writing competition provided solid evidence that there are a lot of bright and creative students in grades 10 through 12.

The cash prizes offered in the competition are surely an incentive for students to submit entries, but we think an urge to share thought and political opinion with others is also an encouragement for them to write so many original essays and narratives.

The entries submitted by the students this year were very impressive. Many showed a deep sense of social awareness, a caring for others and a commitment to one’s community. A number of essays were devoted to the benefits of union membership, and many others tackled the thorny issues of immigration and the question of whether the U.S. Supreme Court has become a political rather than judicial body. Like last year, gun safety was also a popular topic.

This was the writing contest’s 17th year. The winners of this year’s competition were awarded their prizes on August 20. Their names are published in this edition of the Hotel Voice magazine.

The writing contest was established by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, which funded the competition through 2017. The contest has been made possible the last two years through the generosity of Laurel Rubin, the daughter of Donald Rubin and the granddaughter of the founder of our union, Jay Rubin. It was noted at this year’s ceremony that Jay Rubin was an immigrant from Poland, a fact that should be especially appreciated here in our union, which has long continued its tradition as a haven for newcomers to our country.

We are sorry to say that Laurel Rubin was unable to attend this year’s awards ceremony. But Hotel Trades Council President Peter Ward expressed appreciation to her on behalf of the entire union.

“Laurel Rubin deserves an enormous amount of credit and gratitude for sponsoring this competition and for providing a sense of continuity between the Rubin family and our union, stretching all the way back to 1939, the year the Hotel Trades Council was founded,” Ward said. “This competition, which was begun by her father, Donald Rubin, provides a truly fine opportunity for our members’ children to show their talents and express their views. We look forward to this contest every year.”

It seems the students also look forward to the competition every year, judging by the number of entries submitted in the past.

There were plenty of essays and narratives submitted this year, as well, and while no one can deny that any contest brings out the competitive spirit in many, there is little doubt that the prize money — ranging from $500 to $3,000 — is also a strong incentive for students to participate. Winners are determined each year by current or former newspaper reporters from the New York area. The union and Laurel Rubin are not involved in the determination of the winners. A separate article describes the winning essays and narratives selected by the judges.

The annual writing competition is open to high school students from grade 10 through 12. Members and their children can look for information on next year’s competition in the Spring 2020 edition of Hotel Voice.