State of the Art

Olive Garden’s 13th-annual Pasta Tales essay contest begins October 6, 2008
Kids and teens lead the digital revolution, sharing their ideas online every day. Now Olive Garden wants them to channel that knowledge and creativity to make a difference in their local communities. This year, Olive Garden’s 13th-annual Pasta Tales essay writing contest asks students in first through 12th-grade: “How would you use the Internet to change your community for the better?” The grand prize winning essay is worth a three-day trip to New York and a $2,500 savings bond.
Beginning Monday, Oct. 6 through Friday, Dec. 19, Olive Garden will accept essays of 50 to 250 words from students in the U.S. and Canada. Entry forms and complete rules will be available beginning Oct. 6 at local Olive Garden restaurants or by logging on to
The grand prize is a trip to New York, dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. A winner also will be chosen in each grade category and will receive a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden.

Entries must be titled, include the writer’s name, complete address, phone number with area code, grade, date of birth including year and a statement that the work is their own. Entries must be submitted either online or postmarked by Friday, Dec. 19 and sent to Pasta Tales, PMB 2000, 6278 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33308-1916.
Submissions are judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa with finalists selected by Olive Garden.
For more information about Pasta Tales, call Katie Lennon at (954) 776-1999, ext. 240 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with 662 restaurants, more than 80,000 employees and $3.1 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI), the world’s largest full-service owned and operated restaurant company.
Winners Announced in Olive Garden’s 2008 Pasta Tales National Essay Writing Contest
Thirteen students around the nation recognized
ORLANDO, Fla. – Michelle Fauber’s favorite family activity is the time she spends gathering with her father, stepmother and younger sister to watch home videos of her late mother. Fauber’s moving description of why this is special to her was chosen by judges as the grand prize winner in the 12th-annual Olive Garden Pasta Tales national essay writing contest.
A 12th-grader at Cheltenham High School in Wyncote, Pa., Fauber’s essay was selected from more than 28,300 entries, the most ever received in the history of the contest. Students in first through 12th grade were asked: “What is your favorite family activity and what makes it so special?”
In her essay, Fauber recounts the cherished details of her mother brought to life on video. “There she was: laughing, touching the arms of her friends, making bad jokes that sounded frighteningly like my own. A woman with strikingly pale skin and jet black hair; a person with a life, a laugh, a voice that seemed strangely unfamiliar and yet exactly as I thought; my mother,” Fauber wrote. “I saw on that night that the ability to look back on a painful yet indispensable past and to be smiling in the present in the company of each other. …”
Fauber’s essay was “happy and sad, optimistic, inspiring and nostalgic. There wasn’t a wasted word, and in only a handful of sentences she brought readers into a whole new world. … Her moving, efficient, genuine tone had no match in this contest,” noted one of the judges from the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa who reviews the essays.
As the Pasta Tales grand prize winner, Fauber received a $2,500 savings bond, a trip with her family to New York City and dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square.
“Michelle’s beautifully written essay was heartfelt and shared an intimate look into a very special moment for her family,” said Mara Frazier, spokesperson for Olive Garden. “Every year, we are impressed by the creativity and talent of these young writers. Thanks to them for their efforts, as well as to the parents and teachers who encourage them to express their thoughts and emotions through writing.”