The Charles Fracchia Essay Prize Recipients

The Charles Fracchia Awards were bestowed on May 22 at the esteemed City Hall. Mayor London Breed graciously hosted the ceremony in her office, underscoring the event’s significance. The cash awards, a testament to our city’s commitment to its rich history, are cosponsored by the San Francisco City Guides and the San Francisco Historical Society.

San Francisco high school students were invited to submit essays, and this year’s topic was “Shine a Light on San Francisco’s Leading Ladies: Movers, Shakers, and Change Makers by writing about local San Francisco women who paved the way for progress, freedom, and innovation. San Francisco’s “leading ladies” include social activists, pioneers, political giants, and entrepreneurs.

First place winner is Winter Caine, a junior at Lowell High School. She wrote about Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who chased after firetrucks her whole life and became an honorary member of the volunteer fire brigade, the Knickerbocker Engine Company No 5. She traveled the world and was often in Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie’s court when she visited France.

Kylie Chau, a senior at Lowell High School, took second place by writing about artist Ruth Asawa, whose career started when she learned to draw from the illustrators in a Japanese internment camp. Chau points out that “Asawa’s art has always faced criticism.” “Throughout her tenured career, she advocated for school art programs that would benefit underserved youth in San Francisco.

Third place went to Zoe Amaya, a sophomore at Sacred Heart Cathedral, who wrote about Amy Meyer, who helped to create protected recreation spaces in the San Francisco Bay (Area) for over 40 years” and was one of the founders of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The three received cash prizes of $2500, $1500, and $1000 and will have their work published in one of the San Francisco Historical Society’s history journals, The Argonaut or Panorama. Congratulations to all the winners.