The ninth grader won the grand prize in the Verizon/Los Angeles Times' "Jazzed About Literacy" essay competition. He'll be sereneded by jazz musician and five-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau at his high school, along with other winners.
Snetiker -- also a volleyball player -- captures the feeling of reading a great story in his winning essay:
Whenever I read, I am no longer the same teenager who is sitting on his bed, eyes gazing at jumbled words on a page -- I am a different person. I'm Harry Potter, trapped in another Potions class with Professor Snape. I'm Sherlock Holmes, trying to figure out what happened to Sir Hugo's hounds. I'm Huckleberry Finn, journeying down the wild Mississippi River on an adventure with my best friend, Tom Sawyer. When I open up a book, I become the person I read about, and all of a sudden I am immersed in a world a teenager from California would never discover. It could be the mystical Middle-Earth, the historic medieval England, or even a galaxy far, far away. In other words, reading takes me to places I could never go, and introduces me to people I could never meet in my wildest dreams.
Be sure to read his entire essay - it's something all Harry Potter fans, and readers in general, will identify with clearly.