California Zoroastrian Center
2021 Drawing Contest-2 for ages 8 - 20
Drawing Contest-2 Prize winners
9-10 age group:
First place: Ms. Delna Surveyor from Tomball, TX
15-17 age group:
First place: Ms. Sonia Fereidooni from Irvine, CA
Honorable mention: Ms. Arnaz Irani from Sugarland, TX
Drawing-3 Contest will begin in June. Please look for our flyer and looking forward to your amazing works of art
The Drawing-2 Contest was inspired by the story “Cyrus and the Greedy Leader”, third place prize winner of the 2020 Short Story Contest written by Mr. Pouya Monokchian.
Many thanks to all the contestants, our wonderful judges, California Zoroastrian Center, Chehreh Nama magazine and all the Zoroastrian associations who helped in promoting the contest. Look for Drawing-3 Contest flyer coming in June of 2021.
Drawing Contest Organizer
Deadline: April 1, 2021
Color: Black and White (gray shades are accepted)
Size: 5 X 8 or 8 X 5
Medium: Computer graphics or non-smearing on good quality paper
Format: High resolution (300 dpi or larger) pdf or jpeg
Read the story
Submit a drawing considering the rubric posted on this website and following the guidelines.
Email it to or Mail to
PO BOX 572966
Tarzana, CA 91357
Include with your submission
1)full name, 2)email address, 3)phone number, 4)mailing address, 5)gender, and 6) birth-date
* Prize winner will be announced on May 10, 2021 on this website
By submitting your drawing, you give Drawing Competition organizer the right to publish and use your drawing in any desired fashion
The judges will categorize the submitted drawings into appropriate age groups. The winner in each age group will receive $100 dollars.
Honorable mentions and/or Organizer’s choice awards may be given if applicable.
Cyrus and The Greedy Leader
There was once a village that was near a fast-flowing river called the Salzar River. A man named Salzar helped this village thrive and revolutionize their ways of life many years ago. The grateful villagers named the river after him and eventually elected him as leader. Salzar taught them to use the river for fishing, crops and trade. There were many other villages nearby that were bigger but not as powerful because they didn’t have the advantages that come with living near a river. Ten years passed, and Salzar started to change and become greedier. He began to take the villager’s food claiming it was for preparation of war. The villagers trusted him however, due to his previous accomplishments and willingly gave their harvest for the cause. Over the years, the villagers grew to depend on his protection, which plunged the village to mediocrity and eventually to poverty.
One day there was a young man named Cyrus who was heading back to his village after a long journey of gathering food and supplies that were meant to help his poor and starving fellow villagers. However, when Cyrus arrived at the village, his bags were immediately checked and all of his supplies taken by the village leader’s guards. He noticed that the food and supplies weren’t given to the village people in need, but instead put in a carriage and taken away. Witnessing this enraged Cyrus because he worked very hard to get food and supplies to help his fellow people but instead of having the food distributed to feed the poor and starving people, it was taken and stored away for reasons unknown. Upon this shocking discovery, Cyrus strolled throughout the village and saw all of his fellow villagers suffering in unbearable conditions. He had only been gone for five years, he never expected such change upon his return. He came across an old neighbor, Samual, and he began to ask why everyone is still living in such horrid conditions. “We are running out of food,” his old neighbor replied wearily, “but we can live with the little amount we have and we still can grow more crops over the next year”. The more he investigated, the more he realized that most of the villagers are growing their own crops but the food and harvest are being taken away by the leader to feed the army who are helping with a war that is being fought in a faraway land. Cyrus was puzzled because he knew for a fact that the village didn’t have an army. The village was simply too small to need one and too far from any other strong village to pose a threat. Cyrus sensed that things might not be what they seem and he became ever more curious and wanted to find the truth behind all this.
Despite the fact that he had just arrived, he packed his bags once more to set foot on his journey to investigate. He packed supplies he would need for his trip to find the army, along with some old books to read on his journey. After a few days of traveling, Cyrus reached for some of the books he had brought with him. He started reading a book called The Gotha. He remembered that when he was a young boy his grandfather had given him a series of books before he passed away. He missed his grandfather even more now and reminiscing about the days when things were simpler made his heart ache. In those times, he never had the time to read books. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to begin reading and learning his grandfather’s left wisdom. The more he read, the more he gained knowledge on the path of Asha. He started to practice the teachings of the Gotha throughout his travels and after five days Cyrus came across a village that was running out of food. He quickly learned that they had lost all of their seeds for crops due to a famine that took place last year. Without hesitation, Cyrus gave them some seeds he had taken with him while he was leaving his village and gave it to the village. He also took the time to help them with the sowing and farming to ensure successful harvesting for this village. The villagers continuously thanked him and offered to repay him for this kind deed, but Cyrus declined and said “my dear friends, the greatest thanks would be to see your village thrive once more.” And with that, he said that he must set foot to continue his journey to find the army. The villagers looked bemused and said that there was no army in any village for miles due to the fact that all of the villages have been at peace for over one hundred years, thus they have no reason to have an army. This discovery made Cyrus wonder what the leader of his village needed all of that food and supplies for. He suddenly realized that the village leader had always spoke about a special breed of horse that were the fastest in the world and very beautiful in their colors, but because the horses were the fastest they required a lot of food. These horses were known to have five kids a year and the kids grew up to full maturity fast as well.
Once he connected the dots, Cyrus knew that he needed to get back to the village and inform his fellow villagers that their leader is using their hard-earned food to feed his own pets while neglecting the villagers who desperately need it. Cyrus thanked the villagers for their hospitality and packed his bags once more and left. During his journey back, Cyrus reread the Gotha and pondered about the book’s message. He came to realize that the book talked about many virtues such as following the path of Righteousness and picking a good leader, along with what makes a good leader. Cyrus planned to expose and share what he had found and inform his people of all the dishonesty and greed going on from their current leader. He had learned from The Gatha that it was the village’s responsibility to choose a leader with high merit. And once the people learned what their leader really has been up to, Cyrus planned to help them find a leader that was honest, had wisdom and practiced righteousness. After three days of travel, he finally reached his village with a plan and a positive mentality. As he strolled back into the village, he heard distant chatter gathered in one of the homes. He walked into a room filled with most of the villagers and found his old neighbor frail and lying in bed. “He has become weak and there is no food or water left in the village,” his Samuel’s wife said sorrowfully, “I don’t think he can make it through the night.” This scene broke Cyrus’s heart and he turned to the crowd in the room and said, “I’ve traveled throughout the land and I have learned that there is no war, the land has been in harmony for a hundred years!” The room broke into small chatter and confusion. “Our leader has been dishonest to us my friends, we must take control of our village and end this madness,” Cyrus continued as he unpacked his bag and showed them his plan. The villagers quickly learned that indeed the leader has been greedy and was using the gathered food to feed his horses and himself, rather than the people.
The people trusted Cyrus with his plans and they marched steadfast to the leader’s living quarters, determined to take back their village. Salzar stepped out leisurely to find the entire village gathered at his porch. “What is the meaning behind all this? What do you want?” he demanded from the crowd. Cyrus stepped forward and calmly said, “There is no war or army far away, and everyone here knows that now.” He could see the leader looking uneasy and sweating feverishly. “I come here with peace, but I propose a challenge to let the people choose who should be the new leader.” The leader laughed, unimpressed at the young man before him. “You think you can beat me? I am a powerful person and you are simply a common man!” the leader scoffed, “I accept your challenge. Once I win, I never want to see you in this village again. You are to be banished from this village!” Cyrus knew that he had to keep a better mentality and without hesitation, he said, “I accept your exception to this challenge, the one who loses shall be banished.” Cyrus went on to propose his new challenge and stated that the land is to be divided into two, whoever grows the most crops by the time of harvest shall win and the people of the village are to elect their leader then. The leader pondered quietly and after a few moments he agreed to Cyrus’s challenge and all of his fellow villagers also agreed to the new proposition. They were happy because the food they grow would not be taken from them and would instead be shared at the end of the harvesting season. The village was split in half and soon each side looked to their leader for instructions. Cyrus had read all the books that his grandfather left him and in the pursuit of knowledge, he had learned new techniques to ensure the best harvest. The Gothas had told him to obtain wisdom and spread wisdom to others and Cyrus knew a lot about farming and began to share his wisdom to his fellow villagers. Cyrus gave his fellow villagers tips while the leader was yelling at his people for not doing enough work.
Throughout the month Cyrus began to help his farmer by finding fish that could help their crops grow faster. Meanwhile Salzar provided his side of the land four weeks of yelling and no help. Salzar’s greedy ways had led to him become uninformed about farming and he didn’t want to read books to learn and give his farmers tips or get anything to help the crops grow faster. After five months of work, Cyrus was able to give his farmers a break from work and to repay them for their hard work he threw a party to celebrate the crops being half way ready for harvest. Salzar however was struggling to keep his farmers happy and willing to work. His crops grew but not as fast as Cyrus’s. After the tenth month Cyrus let his farmers go because there was no work to be done until it was time to pick the crops. Meanwhile Salzar had his farmer working even harder than they were before to catch up. On the last day of the challenge Cyrus had his farmers finish picking the crops and he helped them take them to the village center. They waited for their old leader, Salzar, to bring his crops to see who had the better harvest. After an hour of waiting, Salzar came to the village center but he didn’t have any crops because his farmer abandoned him and left the crops uncared for. Thus Salzar didn’t have enough time to pick all of the crops and bring them ready for the challenge. The villagers realized who the clear winner was and they shouted with glee and asked Cyrus to become their new leader. Cyrus’s Zoroastrian teachings and ways of life had taught him to become a better human being, he didn’t want Salzar to be banished form the village because he did a lot for the village in his early years and he deserved a second chance to redeem his ways. Cyrus ask Salzar if he wanted to stay in the village because of his great contributions to the village earlier in his life.Salzar garetfully accepted and with tears in his eyes he apologized to his fellow villagers for his wrongdoings. Cyrus handed Salzar the Gotha and told him, “if you read this you may not become the leader of this village but a leader of your future.”
My name is Pouya Monokchian, and I am 14 years old. In my spare time, I like to play video games and watch documentaries. When I grow up I hope to become a health professional because I want to help people.
2020 Short Story Contest