Preston Porrazzo, of Murphys, won the Scholastic Action magazine’s “Tell Us Your True Teen Story” contest.

An Avery Middle School student recently won a writing contest open to entrants across the country.

Preston Porrazzo, of Murphys, received first place in Scholastic Action magazine’s “Tell Us Your True Teen Story” contest for an essay on his favorite hobby.

Students were asked to submit short essays on individual passions, struggles or things that make them special, and over 100 entries were received.

Porrazzo chose to write about his love of building, a skill which was passed down from his grandfather.

“I can build almost anything, from fixing a stapler to working on a (World War II) Weasel used as a snow machine for the winters,” he wrote. “It makes me feel good and helps me remember a family member I lost. It was my grandpa who I lost. He was a great builder, and I loved him.”

Porrazzo’s skills have even benefitted his teachers at school.

“I also build and fix things for my teachers, like my teacher Mrs. Doyle,” he wrote. “I fixed her electric pencil sharpener. It is always nice to do things like that because, for one, it shows people you know how to build and that you are trustworthy.”

Porrazzo likes to build things that will stand the test of time.

“I can also build small structures like sheds and doghouses,” he wrote. “I have already built a mini garage with a little help from my dad. It can fit smaller cars and has a cement paved bottom. When I build things, I build them to last the next 10 centuries before they fall. That’s what my grandpa did and that’s what I am going to do, all my life, forever.”

For first place in the contest, Porrazzo received a $100 American Express gift card, copies of Jason Reynold’s new book, “Look Both Ways,” for each student in his class, and a class subscription to Scholastic Action for next school year.

“After reading and rereading our finalists, the editors of Action chose Preston Porrazzo’s story, ‘My Love to Build,’ as our grand prize winner,” Scholastic Action magazine said in a statement. “We couldn’t help but adore Preston’s earnest voice, and we admired how he was able to express his love for his grandfather through his passion for building.”



Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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