Congratulations! Winners of 2008 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship - My Family Travels

Helping others motivates family travelers and earns scholarships for writers ages 13-18 in Family Travel Forum’s 2008 Teen Travel Writing contest.

(New York, November 11, 2008) – Family Travel Forum (FTF), the award-winning publisher of family vacation information on the web, is proud to announce the winners of its second annual Teen Travel Essay Scholarship competition. More than 6,000 students ages 13 to 18 applied for this merit scholarship.

A common theme in many of this year’s diverse adventures was a passion for making positive change in places visited and — fortunately for parents footing the bill — a renewed appreciation for those who supported teens’ global travels. “Topics ranged from visiting grandparents in Poland and Puerto Rico and touring the art treasures of Europe to working in the slums of Tijuana, Nairobi and San Francisco,” notes judge Laura Sutherland. “Stories were remarkably well crafted, vivid, insightful, funny and probably worthy of admission to Harvard. I expect we’ll be reading more from many of the winning writers over the years to come, as they have distinct voices and the ability to bring travel destinations and experiences to life in refreshing new ways.”

Congratulations to the recipients of Family Travel Forum’s 2008 Teen Travel Writing Scholarships.

2008 Scholarship Winners:

1st Place ($1,000):
Blue Knob, Clay County, West Virginia” by Chelsea Knights; Long Beach, California

2nd Place ($500):
1884 Miles on a Smokin’ Rock” by Isaiah Cornelius; Arvada, Colorado

3rd Place ($200):

“Most Cars Don’t Come Back: A Final Trip to Croatia” by Connor de Bruler; Greenville, South Carolina


2008 Scholarship Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention authors will receive a Certificate of Commendation and a copy of the “Rand McNally 2009 Road Atlas”:

– “A Canadian Adventure” by Madeline Kuttner; Alameda, California
“A Clumsy Sort of Paradise” by Emily Lydic; Raymond, Ohio
An Unexpected Beauty” by Caitlin Newell; Delaware, Ohio
– “A World Away from Home” by Abigail McAlister; Winston-Salem, North Carolina
– “Children of Fiji” by Rachel Taube; Short Hills, New Jersey
– “China, A Second Home” by Anne Marie Ou; Lewisville, Texas
“Costa Rica” by Joyce Chung; Great Neck, New York
– “Emerald Water Memories” by Caitlin Needham; Shawnee, Oklahoma
French Fever” by Natilee Festa; Orlando, Florida
Going Home” by Julia Nejedlo; Hortonville, Wisconsin
– “Honduras, Beautiful Lessons” by Sarah Curley; Pueblo, Colorado
If Thoreau Went Backpacking” by Nathan McKinley; Mason, Ohio
– “I Left My Tongue in Branson” by Nolan Jones; Chesapeake, Virginia
Learning Through a Bowl” by B.O.; Ashland, Kentucky
“My India” by Poonam Shah; Corona, California
My Jamaican Heart” by Brittany Castle; Macungie, Pennsylvania
– “My Trip to Philadelphia” by Laura Hastings; Wildwood, Missouri
– “My Trip to the Moon” by Samantha Dupler; Rockville Centre, New York
Taiwan: The Same Sky” by Shirley Chen; San Jose, California
– “The Becoming of Appreciation” by Sara Hamza; Nashville, Tennessee
– “The Other Side of Jamaica” by Kaylie Church; Wheaton, Illinois
– “Tijuana, Mexico: An Eye-Opening Trip” by Mariko Newton; Beaverton, Oregon
Travels in Paris” by Amanda Sweeny; Luray, Virginia
– “With Clouds Beneath My Feet” by Lauren Zumbach; Hinsdale, Illinois
– “Worlds Apart, Closer than Ever” by Jessica Cooke; California, Maryland

Judging the sheer volume of eloquent travel tales, photographs and videos required a team of college and graduate level journalism majors to assist FTF editors in selecting all finalists, whose compelling work can be seen on The top finalist essays, less than 3% of those submitted, were passed up to a panel of five travel journalists from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), who judged them on originality, eloquence and a sense of place. FTF was honored by the support and participation of SATW, a professional organization known as “Travel’s Most Trusted Voices,” because of their commitment to responsible journalism, conservation and the preservation of travel resources worldwide.  To learn more about all of the judges involved, check out their bio.

The 2009 FTF Teen Travel Scholarship will begin accepting applications on June 15, 2009 at


About FTF

Family Travel Forum (FTF) has served all who “Have Kids, Still Travel” with print and online guides since 1996. has won many awards for its expert global coverage of family vacations ranging from multi-generational cruises to eco-adventures, travel gear reviews and pediatric travel health. FTF’s Trip Planning service boasts a Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center for its comprehensive personalized itineraries and travel resources. Other FTF publications include for the Before I Get Old crowd; adventures with babysitting for parents of under-5s at; blogs for those who’ve been there, done that and tell all at; and e-newsletters packed with vacation deals, breaking news and trends. FTF partnerships range from the guidebook, “Amazing Places to Take Your Kids in North America” to students licensing for Disney’s and the Discovery Channel, and strategic consulting to Fairmont Hotels, Chrysler and Forbes among others.

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