Western Sierra Collegiate Academy eighth-grader Karishma Patel has placed fourth in the state of California’s Escribo en Espanol (I write in Spanish) literary competition. The annual statewide contest is a collaborative effort between the state of California and the Embassy of Spain to encourage Spanish language students to further their Spanish writing skills. They also awarding top applicants for best prose and poetry. This year’s essay topic was “My most memorable learning experience” or “Una experiencia escolar inolvidable.” Patel wrote an essay about a family trip to India where she learned more about her family name, cultural traditions and the geography of her ancestors’ homeland. Judges announced her fourth place award on March 23. “It makes me feel really happy to be selected as a winner,” said Patel, 13. “The thought of coming in fourth place makes me so thankful for the significant Spanish instruction I’ve had over the last two years. My teacher, Mrs. Carlson is amazing.” Sponsored by the California Department of Education and the Education Office of the Embassy of Spain, the contest is open to students in grades 3 through 12, who are in Spanish/English dual immersion programs, or studying Spanish as a foreign language. Patel’s win earns her a diploma of authenticity presented by The Consulate General of Spain in San Francisco on May 30, a package of Spanish books to help further her education, and a bound copy of the 2012 winners’ essays. “I could not be prouder of Karishma,” shared Juliana Carlson, Western Sierra Spanish teacher. “She showed everyone that challenges can be overcome. She has been my student for two years and her growth and dedication have been remarkable.” In August 2009, the founders of the Rocklin Academy family of charter schools opened Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin, offering college preparatory classes to all students. Western Sierra is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and currently serves students in 7th- through 11th grades and will expand to 12th grade in 2012. Authorized under the Charter School Act of 1992 and chartered by the Rocklin Unified School District, Rocklin Academy is a tuition-free public elementary school open to all students. Rocklin Academy offers its high-performing academic program on two shared campuses. Rocklin Academy is the first public school in the greater Sacramento area to offer the nationally recognized Core Knowledge curriculum.