History

Press Release: Local Students Win Fracchia Prizes for History Essays

Winners Announced in Historical Society’s Frachhia Prize Writing Contest

Mayor London N. Breed is hosting the Fracchia Prize awards ceremony (by Zoom) on Friday Sept. 17, between 3:30-4:00 p.m.


The San Francisco Historical Society invited high school students to become a part of the critical national debate regarding the role of civic monuments, including monuments that are controversial.  This year’s contest asked students to consider how we should deal with monuments that are controversial – and identify people important to San Francisco’s history that have not been memorialized with a monument, but should be.


First place winner is Adam Waller, a senior at San Francisco University High School, who responded to the prompt “Who’s been left out?”  Adam argues that a monument in San Francisco should be erected to honor Cecelia Chiang, Chinese immigrant and pioneering restaurateur. She brought an appreciation of authentic Chinese cuisine to San Francisco and was the founder of the iconic Mandarin Restaurant in Ghirardelli Square.


Eloise Olivia So, a sophomore at Lowell High School, took second place and also responded to “Who’s been left out?” Her essay champions the accomplishments of Tye Leung Schulze, native San Franciscan born in 1887, whose groundbreaking achievements helped pave the way for Chinese women to advance in American society. Tye Leung was the first Chinese woman to pass the civil service examination and was the first Chinese woman to vote. She spent her life advising and empowering San Francisco’s Chinese immigrants.


Third place went to Fion Zhen, a senior at George Washington High School. Fion responded to the prompt, “How should we deal with civic monuments that are controversial?” Her essay examines the controversy between conservative and liberal factions that erupted when the murals inside Coit Tower were completed in the early 1930s. She explains the connection between this controversy and other conflicts that were erupting in San Francisco at that time, such as the violence on the waterfront as longshoremen went on strike.


The three winners will receive cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 and will have their work published in one of the Historical Society’s history journals, The Argonaut or Panorama.

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