Winners Named in Verizon Long Distance Youth Essay Contest Tied to 'Asian Night' at Shea Stadium

NEW YORK - An 11-year-old Brooklyn youngster won top prize in Verizon Long Distance's essay contest "A Write-Handed Pitch" and will be an honored guest at Verizon's Asian Night Aug. 22 at Shea Stadium.

Grand prize winner Flora Lau won four tickets to the Asian Night game, a spot at the Mets Youth Clinic on Aug. 27 and a $500 U. S. savings bond.

The essay contest addressed the theme of the power of technology to support the preservation of Asian culture.

Flora competed among hundreds of other entries from the youngsters in the Asian community in the New York area. Her essay explained the importance of preserving Asian culture and the ability of technology to connect the Asian community with its ethnic heritage. Note: See end of release for winning essay.

The second place winner, Claudia Ho, 10, also of Brooklyn, won a $200 U. S. savings bond and four tickets to Verizon's Asian Night game. Third place went to Michael Lin, 10, of Flushing, who won a $100 U. S. savings bond and four tickets to the game.

Both Claudia and Michael also will be honored at Verizon's Asian Night when the New York Mets will play the Colorado Rockies. Entries were judged by the Asian-American Writers' Workshop, the premiere resource for writers, readers and publishers on literature written by Asians living in America.

Verizon's Asian Night on Aug. 22 celebrates the richness of New York's cultural experience, including the impact of Asian talent on "America's pastime" -- baseball. More Asians have attended this season's games since the Mets acquired Japanese outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

The pre-game activities on the field at Shea Stadium will include Asian music, dance and other cultural traditions. Cindy Hsu, local WCBS-TV newswoman, will begin the game with the first pitch.

"Hats off to the Mets and to Verizon for engaging the Asian community and the young people of the city in acknowledging the power of our cultures on society," Hsu said.

"Sports, and especially baseball, are an undeniable influence on our society and on our young people," said Jill Wagner, vice president of consumer marketing for Verizon. "The influence of Asian cultures on sports and on the richness of life is something to celebrate.

"Verizon Long Distance proudly sponsors Asian Night at Shea Stadium and the essay contest to highlight the influence of our Asian neighbors on our mutual experience here in New York," she said. "We acknowledge the bright future of young Asian-Americans, who understand the importance of keeping their own cultures vibrant in a time of great change."

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.

# # #

Winning Essay

How Does Technology Preserve the Traditions of Asian Culture?

Flora Lau

How does technology help preserve the traditions of Asian Culture? It's a question I ask myself sometimes. But I know that technology helps preserve the traditions because people get to call their relatives and elders from China and other places. The Internet helps people gather information about Chinese cultures or what happens in China or Hong Kong.

Vehicles or other transportation like cars, airplanes or trains, take you to different places, or to different parts of the world. They could take people to places like China and Hong Kong. That's where I'd like to go someday. I heard that there are many places to have fun and lots of different kinds of food. Yum!

The technology behind TV, or television, helps me do one of my favorite things. When I rent Chinese videos, I get to watch it for fun and get to learn how to read and talk the Chinese language. Every night, my mother listens to the radio during dinner. I know the weather and the news in China. I get to learn how to sing the Chinese songs when they put them on the radio, or I get to listen to it. Sometimes, I don't know what they're singing. When I hear the news, it's scary. It's always about somebody getting killed. But sometimes it's different.

When I ride the car to Chinatown, all around is Chinese shops, restaurants and stalls. There are Chinese food places everywhere. I love Chinese food. They made Chinatown especially for us. My mom sometimes says that the food tastes like the food in Hong Kong. Someday I wish to go and visit my relatives back in Hong Kong. So, technology really helps us keep the traditions of Asian culture.