1st Place: Aman Bekele
San Jose Unified
1st Place: Thi Le
1st Place: Linh Duong
East Side Union HSD
2nd Place: Eduardo Madriz
Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy (Charter School, ESUSD)
Tie for 3rd Place: Nadia Velez Naranjo, Saira Hernandez, Elizabeth Ibarra
Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy (Charter School, ESUSD)
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Author: Paula Williams Madison
Spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, this powerful memoir that is a universal story of one woman's search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity.
Thanks to her spiteful, jealous Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe was cut off from her Chinese father, Samuel, when she was just a baby, after he announced he was taking a Chinese bride. By the time Nell was old enough to travel to her father's shop in St. Ann's Bay, he'd taken his family back to China, never learning what became of his eldest daughter. Bereft, Nell left Jamaica for New York to start a new life. But her Asian features set her apart from her Harlem neighbors and even her own children—a difference that contributed to her feeling of loneliness and loss which she instilled in her only daughter, Paula.
Years later, with a successful corporate career behind her and the arrival of her only grandchild raising questions about family and legacy, Paula decided to search for Samuel Lowe's descendants in China. With the support of her brothers and the help of encouraging strangers, Paula eventually pieced together the full story of her grandfather's life, following his story from China to Jamaica and back, and connecting with 300 surprised relatives who were overjoyed to meet her.
Finding Samuel Lowe is a remarkable journey about one woman's path to self-discovery. It is a story about love and devotion that transcends time and race, and a beautiful reflection of the power of family and the interconnectedness of our world.
A documentary version of Finding Samuel Lowe is also available. Preview at
Paula Williams Madison is Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach.
In 2011, Madison retired from NBCUniversal, where she had been Executive Vice President of Diversity as well as a Vice President of the General Electric Company (GE), then the parent company of NBCU. During her 22 years with NBCU, she held a number of successful leadership roles, including President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Regional General Manager for NBCU's Telemundo TV stations and Vice President and News Director of NBC4 New York.
Her career as a journalist led to a 1996 Peabody Award for NBC4 New York's investigation, "A License to Kill." Madison's continued dedication to quality journalism helped NBC4 Los Angeles earn numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
She is a highly regarded public speaker, particularly on the topics of corporate diversity, multigenerational wealth, entrepreneurship and multicultural issues.
Honored for corporate leadership and community outreach, Madison was named one of the "75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America" by
Black Enterprise Magazine in 2005 and included in the Hollywood Reporter's "Power 100." She's been honored by Asian organizations as well, having been recognized in 2014 as one of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business, by the East West Players and AARP with their Visionary Award, and the Los Angeles Chinese American Museum with its 2015 Chinese American Heritage and Legacy Award.
A former marathoner, Madison also received the "Citizen of the Year Award" from the City of Los Angeles Marathon in 2004 and the AntiDefamation League's "2003 Deborah Award." And in 2013,
Ebony Magazine named her to its second "Power 100" list.
Madison is a Board Member of the Los Angeles Chinese American Museum, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Center for Asian American Media, Cardinal Spellman High School, the Greater Los Angeles United Way, the California Science Center Foundation, Chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation as well as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: "You don't know me, but I'm your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database." That's enough family members to fill Madison Square Garden four times over. Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them? So began Jacobs's three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history. Jacobs's journey would take him to all seven continents. He drank beer with a U.S. president, found himself singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. After all, we can choose our friends, but not our family. "Whether he's posing as a celebrity, outsourcing his chores, or adhering strictly to the Bible, we love reading about the wacky lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs" (Entertainment Weekly). Now Jacobs upends, in ways both meaningful and hilarious, our understanding of genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. It's All Relative is a fascinating look at the bonds that connect us all.
A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help. He is also editor at large at
Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR, and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine.
His first book is called The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World (Simon & Schuster, 2004). The memoir — which spent two months on the New York Times bestseller list — chronicles the 18 months Jacobs spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a quest to learn everything in the world.
After trying to improve his mind, he turned to his spirit. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (2007) tells of his attempt to follow the hundreds of rules in the Good Book. It spent three months on the NYT bestseller list, and was praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and others.
In 2012, Jacobs completed his mind-spirit-body self-improvement trinity with Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. It is the tale of his quest to be as healthy as humanly possible for which he revamped his diet, exercise regimen, sleep schedule, sex life, posture and more. He wrote the book on a treadmill desk (It took him about 1,200 miles).
He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Dr. Oz Show, Conan and The Colbert Report. He has given several TED talks and he is a periodic commentator on NPR's
Weekend Edition Saturday.
Jacobs grew up in New York City and lives there still with his family.
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In 2012, longtime genealogy buff Bill Griffeth took a DNA test, just for fun, and got the shock of his life. The results suggested that his beloved father was not his father. “If the test was correct, it meant that the family tree I had spent years documenting was not, in fact, my own.” The Stranger in My Genesrecounts Bill’s two-year quest to learn the truth about his paternity, including a memorable encounter with his 95-year-old mother. In the end, the veteran CNBC-TV anchor is left to discover his real father and a new definition of “family.”
Bill Griffeth is a veteran financial journalist who has covered Wall Street on television since 1981, most of that time as an anchor on CNBC. In 2018, he began a new assignment as co-anchor on the very popular
Nightly Business Report on PBS, the longest-running business news show on television, produced by CNBC.
Bill has been nominated for six Cable ACE awards, including Best News Anchor, and one Emmy for the CNBC documentary
Game On! In 2001, he was the recipient of the National Association of Investors' Distinguished Service Award in Investor Education, and in 2017, his alma mater, California State University, Northridge, bestowed on him an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Bill is the author of
By Faith Alone: One Family's Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism;
Ten Steps to Financial Prosperity;
The Mutual Fund Masters; and
The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir. Upcoming in 2019 will be the newly-revised
By Faith Alone: My Family's Epic History.
Since 2003, his hobby has been genealogy, and he has traveled tens of thousands of miles in the U.S. and Europe researching his and his wife's family histories. He currently serves as a Trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts. Bill and his wife, Cindy, have two grown children.
American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
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