2011 Sejong Writing Competition
|Senior Division||Junior Division|
|First Place||Suah Kang
11th grade, Baylor School
8th grade, Davidson IB Middle School
|Second Place||Sarah Walsh
12th grade, Kennard Dale HS
6th grade, Good Hope Middle School
|Third Place||Christine Hamlin
(San Diego, CA)
11th grade, Academy of Our Lady of Peace
5th grade, Mantua Elementary School
Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
10th grade, Nuview Bridge Early College HS
8th grade, Sabio Academy
12th grade, Marist School
|Cole David Johnson
(Jamaica Plain, MA)
7th grade, Boston Latin School
(Maple Valley, WA)
10th grade, Tahoma Senior HS
|Yo Han John Ahn
(St Louis, MO)
8th grade, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School
10th grade, Naperville North HS
|Hailey Elizabeth McNelis
8th grade, St. Anne's Episcopal School
|Chae Hee Lim
10th grade, Bishop Eustace Preparatory School
11th grade, New Kent HS
My name is Suah Kang, and I am a rising senior at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was immediately intrigued by the uniqueness of this writing opportunity outside of class that would allow me to to synthesize my own knowledge of Korean history and that of contemporary Korean society. While comparing two contrary views on the reunification, I realized the looming responsibility that will soon be entrusted to our generation and the importance of preserving the very identity that must not be forgotten. The conflict between the two Koreas may encumber the countries themselves with politics, economics and so on, but we the people shall not forget our history, the time of unification, as Hwang Sun Won advices. Thus, someday in the future, I’d like to contribute myself to this necessary course of reconciling action that will lead to a successful reunification and heal the economic and social gap with attentive approach afterwards. And I am planning to prepare myself with an extensive study on history and economics.
It might sound too cliché, but my parents are the hero and heroine in of my life. Although they are no big-name personages who take up at a bulk of pages in a textbook, they are the ones who exert a direct and positive influence on me. Their immeasurable sacrifice affects me the most and inspires me to improve myself; I truly appreciate their affection and devotion for me. And they will guide me wherever and whenever for I always feel them in my heart.
I entered this contest because my English teacher, Miss Allen, always encouraged her students to apply to as many scholarships as possible, and due to the fact that I have been fascinated by Korean culture for a long time, I felt that this scholarship competition was the perfect fit. I have learned that with an admiration for all the cultures that make up our world, we can make the world a better place and relearn human decency.
I plan to attend Millersville University's Honors College and earn a degree in Secondary English Education and work toward a minor in English as a Second Language.
I enjoy reading profusely, watching old movies, spending time with my family, and writing short stories. My personal hero is my mother because she taught me what it means to be a strong woman and to persevere when faced with diversity.
I entered this competition simply due to a serendipitous event: I happened to hear an announcement at my school about the essay competition. Since I consider writing to be my strong suit and since I have never entered a writing competition before, I figured now was a good time to try my hand at one. Through taking part in this competition, I learned that I truly enjoy writing and that there is always something significant to be said about everything and anything - even an unfamiliar short story on a topic about which I have never read any literature. Additionally, I was exposed to a new author, which I always consider valuable.
My goal for the future is still a bit uncertain, as I'm sure countless people's are. I do, however, dream of becoming a screenwriter and maybe even a director, but I also love biology and am interested in a career in research. I aspire to grow and learn for the better everyday and to have a positive effect on my world in big and small ways.
I play the piano, run cross country, and I am very interested in all aspects of filmmaking, from cinematography to editing to score composition. Aside from God, my family is collectively my hero. They keep me true to myself, love and support me through it all, and remind me of what is truly important in life.
When I first learned about this competition from my language arts teacher, I must admit I was a bit skeptical; I figured that it was just some random assignment being given to my class to fill up time. However, as I read the different Korean folk tales, I realized this was something much more important and valuable than I’d assumed. Not only was it an opportunity to learn about Korean culture, but an opportunity to learn about myself. Writing my essay response gave me the chance to learn about the values of other cultures, how I view these other cultures, and how I interpret their unique stories and folk tales. Breaking down what seemed to be such simple stories and unearthing the deeper meanings behind them was certainly an invaluable experience. So, after investing so much time and effort into this project, when I finally completed my essay, I simply thought, why not enter it in the competition? Why should I just stop at handing this in to my teacher for a grade, when I could make so much more out of this experience? So I chose to get all I could out of this opportunity and entered it into the Sejong Writing Competition. I must say, right now I’m pretty glad I took that risk, because it certainly paid off!
This being said, although I do enjoy writing, I’m not quite sure if it is something I’d like to pursue as a career. I am very aware that my future is not set in stone, and compared to some individuals, it’s barely decided at all! Without question, I will go to a good four-year college, but I suppose other than that I don’t have a specific goal for my future; or not yet, at least! In my ideal world, I would become a singer, but, if I’m going to be honest, the chances of this happening are pretty slim (especially since I’ve gotten the worst cases of stage fright every one of the few times I’ve actually performed in public). I’ve made peace with that, though, and now singing and songwriting have become some of my favorite hobbies! Almost nothing makes me happier than coming home from school and writing a new song on my guitar or piano. Not only does it give me a sense of accomplishment when I finish a composition, but, although I admit it may sound a bit cheesy, it’s a great way to express my feelings!
I feel that this love for singing and songwriting (and just music in general) has greatly contributed to the fact that one of my biggest heroes is Taylor Swift. Seeing someone so determined and dedicated really motivates me to keep composing songs. She released her first album when she was about sixteen, which just goes to show that you really can achieve great things if you put your mind to it. Also, having the courage to bare her soul and release such personal songs is no small feat, especially from the point of view of someone with such paralyzing stage fright! Taylor has shown me never to give up, and that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
I believe that this positive frame of mind is part of the reason I took the risk of entering my essay into the Sejong Writing Competition. I had figured I’d probably just receive a grade from my teacher, and eventually forget that I had even entered my essay in the contest at all (which I actually did until I found out I had won)! That would be that. However, today I was clearly proven wrong! This experience has truly been an unforgettable one, and I am so glad that I chose to enter my essay in this contest; it just goes to show that anything really is possible.
I entered my essay to this competition because my social studies teacher introduced me to it, and I thought it would be a great experience for competitive writing. I am Korean, so I grew up listening to the tales of the Green Frog and others, and I knew beforehand that they are entertaining, humorous tales, so writing about them would also be enjoyable. Through this competition, I learned that writing isn’t a tiresome, boring thing to do. I actually enjoyed writing my essay, because I realized through this that writing about a story takes you a step further than just reading it. It really makes you get to the essence of the story and really analyze it and think,“ What did I just read?”. I believe that will help you truly understand the story. That is what happened to me as I wrote about the Fountain of Youth.
My goal in the future is to improve at writing in general, and win various different writing competitions, not just this one, but I hope to win the senior essay division also. My hobbies include playing tennis, football, golf, and ping pong. Math is my favorite subject, and I also like reading action packed books.
My personal hero would be my mother, who grew up in a poverty stricken family, who grew up to graduate from Columbia Law School, even though she could barely speak English, and work at one of the most renowned law firms in the U.S., and also in South Korea. Then, when I started fifth grade, she quit her job so that she could spend time with me. Now why would she give up a high paying job to spend time with her child? That is because it was a promise she made to me when I was younger. She then brought me to the U.S. to spend some time outside and playing sports.
I entered this essay because I thought that it could improve my writing skills and knowledge of folktales. Personally, I didn’t know anything about Korean folklore until my teacher told me to try something new. It gave me a chance to compare how English and Korean folktales have similar morals and plots. This essay competition inspired me to become interested in Korean literature and essay writing. Thus, this is the reason why I chose to compete in the Sejong National Competition.
I learned important things by writing this essay. I learned to organize my words and thoughts by jotting down notes and making an outline. I also learned to clarify my ideas so the readers could best understand my intentions. The most effective tool was editing: I learned that it is vital to review and revise. In this way, I learned a lot about writing essay through this process.
My goal in the future is to become a successful doctor in order to help people in need. For instance, I would like to become well known for helping homeless people that have cancer or diseases. I also would be able to support my family with the money I earned and be able to give to charity. Thus, I would like to be a successful doctor as for my future goal.
One of my favorite hobbies is reading. I enjoy reading because I can imagine the world that the authors create and how the characters feel throughout the story, travel anywhere I want, and learn the morals of the plot. I can pop right out of this world just by reading a book!
My personal hero is my father. He inspired me to study hard and succeed in writing and in life. I improved my writing throughout my school years because my dad is behind me, supporting me. While I was struggling during my studies, he gave me hope and confidence. In conclusion, my father is my personal hero.
I entered the essay competition as an assignment for my World Literature class. I love to read everything, so I enjoyed the assignment, but I remember having to read the story "Cranes" multiple times in order to understand its full meaning. I also had to do a lot of research on Korean history and culture, but it was fun! I love learning about different cultures, languages, and ways of thinking, which is why I plan on studying Anthropology at Columbia University for the next four years. My older sister is my hero because she has taught me to be adventurous and has encouraged me to learn about and appreciate all the differences in the world.
My name is Carlo Castillo and I am a sophomore at Naperville North High School, a public school in a suburb of Chicago. I was born in Rochester, New York but have lived mostly in the Midwest. My interests include playing cello, building model airplanes and tanks, fishing for bass, and photography. My goal is to travel to many other countries and possibly pursue a career in engineering.
I entered the essay competition because I heard about it in a school announcement. I had some success in writing contests in junior high so I decided to try and see how well I could do. This competition taught me that extra effort pays off. Writing the essay was a bit of more work on top of my regular homework, but it was worth it. It showed me that going the extra mile really can be rewarded.
My hero is my uncle, Ramon Miranda, because he went to high school in the Philippines and from there went on to receive a PhD at MIT. I also admire all my teachers (in school and elsewhere) for all the time and effort they put into helping me and my peers.
I have always been happy with my decision to come to the United States and study, beacuse the experience gave me a broader insight of looking at things. However, as an international student, I have always wished that I could learn more about my own country, such as the Korean history and literature. I entered this competition because it was a good opportunity to expand my knowledge both on Korean history and literature.
First of all, it was an interesting experience for me because I have never read Hwang Soon Won's Cranes back in Korea even though I spent nearly all of my life there. Reading the work of a famous Korean author in English and analyzing the work with my limited knowledge was very entertaining and educational. Mostly, the work reminded me of my compassion for my dear country that I was unintentionally forgetting while learning about the American history all the time.
I am really not so sure about what I want to do in the future yet. However, I do know that I will always give my best effort in anything I do. Hopefully, when I do know what I want to become in the future, I will try my best to acheive that goal too.
I enjoy playing the piano, but mostly, I like to have fun, listen to musics...the usuals!
My personal heros are my parents. Again, being an international students and living apart from my family taught me that the family love is what I can really count on. They always wish the best for me and support me with their tireless love!
I was actually sufing online for any scholarship opportunities and came across this competition. It was a pleasant surprise to find out the result. Even though I didn't expect to win at all, I put a lot of effort into the essay. Not only did I learn more about my own background as a Korean, but also it made me think more about our future: how North and South Korea are going to resolve and reunite.
My dream is to become a journalist/photographer, someone who can become the eyes and the voice for the people, someone who can inspire others by photos and articles, and someone who can be a hope for the world. I have lots of hobbies; running, playing piano, violin and marimba, reading, writing, and taking photos are few of my hobbies. My hero is my mom. What makes her my greatest hero is that she trusts my dream and future. Sometimes, I am not even sure about my own future, but she encourages me everytime I don't have any strength in me and puts me back up on my feet. She believes in me and that's what makes her my hero.
Hello. My name is Shyun Jung. I am a 14-year old student who just graduated from 8th grade and is currently entering freshman year at GBN. Some of my favorite hobbies are tennis and watching movies. I heard about this conversation from one of my language arts teachers, and it was a great experience for me. I really enjoyed the time spent and wish to compete next year.
I entered this contest at my teacher's encouragement to improve my writing skills. It was an interesting experience to learn and write about another culture's folktales. Participating in this essay contest taught me a lot about Korean culture. I was surprised to learn that Korean folktales are very similar to those of other cultures. The specific folktale I read and responded to helped me to learn about patience, forgiveness, and selflessness. I am not sure what career choice I wish to pursue when I grow up, but I am looking forward to more years of learning at my school and at college in the future. I am on my town's soccer team and also I play the piano. More hobbies of mine include hiking, camping, and fishing. My personal hero is Jesse Owens because he had such courage to face the prejudice against him and pursue his dreams. I hope that I, like him, will not let anything get in the way of my dreams.
I first heard about the essay competition from my mom. I could tell that this competition required deep thoughts, and well written masterpieces. Through the writing process, I learned that if you work to your fullest you can always achieve your goals. You have to focus and keep your eyes on the prize; have faith in yourself and believe that you have potential. My goals for high school is to pursue all of my interests along with new hobbies. My intention is to graduate from Yale Law School and become a defence attorney. My favorite sports are swimming and soccer, I love to meet with my friends whether it is at the movies or at the park. My hobbies are reading, watching movies, and sports. My personal hero is John Adams. John Adams is my hero because he had so many obstacles in his life he had to overcome, but he held his head high and achieved each one with 110%. He is also my hero because he was once a great lawyer, and I want to soon achieve that goal.