David Reyes Essay Contest

image of David ReyesAbout the Contest

California State University, Los Angeles, Department of English has established the David Reyes Essay Contest to identify and acknowledge the best writing produced by students enrolled in first-year writing courses at Cal State LA. The contest and prizes were created to memorialize the accomplishments of David Reyes.

Up until his untimely death in September 2014, David Reyes was a well-respected and much beloved member of the English Department of California State University, Los Angeles. For two decades, first as a graduate student and then, having received his Master of Arts degree, as a lecturer, he taught composition courses. He specialized in helping first-year students, and during his career thousands of them improved their writing skills, enabling them to reach their academic goals, and preparing them for careers, to make positive changes in their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities. 

An appreciator of good writing and a lover of books, David Reyes was extremely dedicated to teaching and displayed infinite patience with both the people on his class roster and the people in his department.   He spent many hours holding individual conferences with students so that he could give them personal attention, which was often the key to helping them over the hurdles that had prevented them from succeeding in a course.  He devoted enormous amounts of time just to listening, to students and colleagues. He knew they needed to be heard. He made the human connection with students and made them feel welcome. He was generous in sharing his knowledge, steady and solid in times of trouble. 

As students and colleagues, we were fortunate to encounter a person who led by example to show us what a human being can be. The ripple waves of his generosity of spirit will be felt for years to come in the impact he had on people.