2012 Sejong Writing Competition
|Senior Division||Junior Division|
|First Place||Eunsuh Emily Chun
11th grade, Bergen County Academies
|Rosie Eunseon Choi
8th grade, Sierra Vista Middle School
|Second Place||Carlo Castillo
11th grade, Naperville North High School
7th grade, Good Hope Middle School
|Third Place||Julianna Marandola
9th grade, LaSalle Academy
7th grade, WS Parker Middle School
Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
11th grade, Madison High School
8th grade, William R Satz Middle School
12th grade, Marist School
Newport Beach, CA
8th grade, Harbor Day School
11th grade, Saratoga High School
8th grade, Heritage Middle School
12th grade, Marist School
7th grade, Boston Latin School
11th grade, Selinsgrove Area High School
7th grade, Holy Spirit
12th grade, La Reina High School
8th grade, Monarch K-8 School
8th grade, West Junior High School
My name is Eunsuh (Emily) Chun, and I am a rising senior at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. I enjoy painting, reading anything by Tolstoy, people watching, and I have quite a voracious appetite when it comes to learning about different cultures. I have always been interested in pursuing a career in the field of human rights and social justice. I want to devote my life to combatting child sex slavery, which is a rampant industry even here in America. Whether I will do this through studying law to help consolidate the inadequate laws concerning child sex slavery or through working with victims in restoration homes, I honestly do not see a more sensible way to spend my brief existence on earth than to fight for the freedom of fellow humans.
I learned about this competition through my mom. She leaves on my desk a ridiculous number of little newspaper clippings per week of various competitions for me to enter, and truth be told, I usually do not enter most of them (sorry, mom) because I don't find their topics stimulating. However, when she notified me of this essay competition, I was immediately interested. I learned a lot of things while writing my essay - things that I could never learn through textbooks. Above all though, writing this essay taught me how important it is to have a firm understanding of my Korean heritage.
I entered this competition because I heard about it through school, and because world history has always interested me. Writing never comes easily to me, but I find that if I work hard enough at it, I can end up with something that I am proud of. It's always nice to know that all the work that I put into writing essays during the school year actually pays off.
My interests include bass fishing, reading, cello, watching rugby, and food (probably my first and foremost). People I look up to are my Uncle Ramon Miranda and my teacher Mr. Zedrow, who introduced me to the joys of fishing and woodworking.
I don't yet know what I want to pursue a career in, but I hope that in the future I am able to travel and continue writing.
My name is Julianna Marandola, and I am a rising sophomore at La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island. I first heard about this competition through my English teacher, Mr. Michael Pare. He handed me a copy of Cranes by Hwang Sun-won and the link to the Sejong Cultural Society, asking if I would consider submitting an entry. Writing is my strongest area, and it is not uncommon for me to enter at least one writing contest a year. My best work typically involves nonfiction essays and literary criticisms, so the Sejong Cultural Society Writing Competition seemed like a perfect fit.
After making the decision to enter, I spent a lot of time reflecting on Cranes before I began writing my response. It is the kind of work that has to be carefully dissected if one is to understand the complexity of the issue that is woven into its seemingly simplistic plot. Through this competition, I was exposed to Eastern literature on a topic that is often overlooked by people in my age group. I gained a substantial amount of knowledge about North and South Korea and was able to further explore the power of the short story genre.
Because I am only a freshman, I do not yet have a definitive plan for my future. Economics and national security are two of my major interests, but I am also fascinated by news broadcasting and journalism. No matter which path I choose, I hope to be able to travel the world and increase my knowledge on a daily basis. I believe that there is no greater teacher than experience.
I play the piano, trombone, and concert percussion and am in my school’s concert and pep bands. In addition to my musical involvement, I am a member of the debate team, a reporter for the school newspaper, and part of a Lasallian Youth group. My personal hero is my sister, because she is a shining example of perseverance in times of hardship. She inspires me to push myself beyond my limits and to write from the heart.
My name is Rosie (Eunseon) Choi. I am in 8th grade at Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine, California. I am a girl who loves listening to music, watching movies, playing violin, and reading The Hunger Games. After I heard about this contest from my book club teacher, Rachel Moss, I was really glad that it was about Korean folk tales because when I was little, my grandmother told those stories to me every night. When I read the stories in English, it made me smile to see how they were translated. I am really thankful to Ms. Moss, who taught me how to write essays, and my family, who always supported me no matter what happened.
My name is Noah Lee and I am going into 8th grade at Good Hope Middle School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, golf, and tennis frequently with my friends. I also frequently read and write poems and short stories. My main goal is to be inducted into the Time 100 as a philanthropist or as someone who helped people through all kinds of problems such as starvation, malaria, and cancer. My personal hero throughout my life will always be my mother. Born in a testing time in the recovering years after the Korean War, she was born from a relatively poor family, and had to work in a factory for a whole year before she could attend middle school because of tuition issues. Her life story has inspired me so far and I don't want to let her down now. The classic story of rags to riches struck close to my heart, and I hope that’s enough for me to achieve something great in her name. I was introduced to this competition by my social studies teacher last year in 6th grade, and this has been my second consecutive year participating. Being a Korean myself, I heard these tales many times, and it was very intriguing to look back on some of my childhood memories and see that these messages still hold true in my life today.
My name is Jessica Squires, I am currently in seventh grade at Walter S. Parker Middle School in Reading, MA. Some of my interests include playing soccer, running cross country, and art. I also like hanging out with my friends and listening to music. I heard about the Sejong Essay Competition through my English teacher, Mrs. Martinson. I've always loved to write, but I never thought that I could win an essay competition that was so huge. Upon submitting the essay, I truly thought that I had no chance at all, and forget about the competition for a while. Just a week ago, when I received the congratulatory email, I was so astounded that it didn't even register in my head that I had actually received third place. It took a few days for the idea to really settle into my head. This experience has taught me that if I try hard enough, I really can accomplish feats that I previously thought were impossible. I'm so glad that I entered, as I never would have known this had I not.
I entered this competition as an assignment given by my World Literature teacher to all her classes. The story was a very interesting, albeit difficult read, but I always enjoy the chance to learn and read about different cultures and see how they compare to my own culture and how I grew up.
I plan to continue my love for cultures by studying art history and chemistry while at George Washington University so I can eventually become involved with the art restoration process. I find art is just another expression of culture and it really interests me to discover other cultures' origins through different mediums.
My heroes are my parents because they have always been encouraging me to seek new opportunities and to follow what makes me happy. Their dedication to their medical careers has inspired me to work hard to achieve my own goals in life. I am very thankful for their guidance and support in my life.back to top
My name is Amanda Nardozzi and I am a rising senior at Selinsgrove Area High School. My hobbies and activities include writing, origami, singing, learning different languages, playing video games, and improving my skills.
This competition was not called to my attention until my English teacher, Mr. Edwards, announced it to the class. I have always been interested in Asian culture, so I decided to give it a go. I learned not only more about Korean folklore, but also the complexities and hardships the people of Korea faced. My appreciation has grown for this part of the world due to this contest, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to submit my work.
I never thought I would get anything out of entering my essay. To me, it was just another fun project on the side of school life. I was surprised that I received an Honorable Mention, and I realized that I had greatly underestimated myself. In the future, I plan to enter more competitions and have more faith in my abilities. All of my thanks and admiration go to my two very inspirational English teachers, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Siwert, for giving me thorough feedback on every writing assignment I have turned in.back to top
As I was walking around my room, I came across a small packet, only two pages. Yet, these two pages became the start of my journey of the Sejong Cultural Society essay competition. Given to my sister from her English teacher, I read through the packet and decided to enter in this competition. I had always been exposed to Korean culture, with a large Korean population in my area, my family watching Korean dramas, and my friends listening to k-pop. I spent a lot of time and effort writing this piece, and as I submitted this essay, a small seed of hope grew in my heart. I learned much while writing this essay. Yet, as I read the folktales while preparing my essay, not only did I learn about Korean culture, but also I learned about the human nature and timeless values that were exposed in the folktales.
This competition has helped to sharpen my writing skills. In the future, I hope to touch many people’s lives by being a doctor, during which writing will be very useful to spread my research around the world. Yet, throughout my life, I hope to always persevere when given a challenge, and maintain a good character, a person with integrity, kindness, and happiness.
My personal heroes are my parents. They both had to go through a lot of tribulations and trials upon arriving in America for their education and although came from far corners of the world in China, now are renowned professors in New York University and New Jersey Institute of Technology. Their hard work ethics and their dedication to their work as well as raising my sister and myself have inspired me all of my life. Not only that, but they always have time to give me advice, or give me a hug and kiss. My parents are my inspiration and (I know it’s a cliché,) the best parents in the universe! I would also like to thank my English teachers throughout my school career, especially my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Biss, for all of her help in improving my writing skills.
In my spare time, I enjoy playing cello, painting, listening to music (especially k-pop,) dancing, and of course, writing. This essay competition taught me so many lessons about life and humanity as well as teaching me to persevere and work hard! Entering this essay contest was an unforgettable experience and it certainly paid off!back to top
Hi! My name is Allegra Rollo and I am currently in seventh grade at Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts.
I first learned about this competition through my writing teacher, as she encouraged me to improve our critical thinking skills. It was a fascinating experience to read Korean folktales and to compare them with those of other cultures. Throughout the process of writing my essay, I learned how to analyze the folktale and find the true meaning or moral behind the story itself.
I am 100% Italian and have been living in the States since I was three; I am bilingual. Every year, I travel all over Europe. I love visiting and exploring new cities, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures. It is really interesting to interact with all my friends in different parts of the world. I really like to play sports such as swimming, soccer, and tennis. In addition, I've been playing piano since I was five years old and I enjoy it very much. Being an avid reader, I like to express my thoughts and ideas through poetry.
My personal hero is Jane Addams, who was a pioneer settlement worker, leader of woman suffrage and world peace, and founder of Hull House in Chicago. Since fifth grade when I first learned about her, Jane Addams continues to inspire me to be determined and to stand up for what I believe in.back to top
My name is Julia Sin and I am going into 9th grade at Seoul Foreign School in Korea. I heard about this competition through my 7th grade Language Arts teacher, Ms. Darla Humphrey at Monarch K-8 in Colorado. I am so glad that I attempted this challenge and I learned from this experience that you can't confirm that something is impossible unless you try.
I enjoy playing the violin, volleyball, doing martial arts, and talking to my friends. My future goal is to go on a service trip to help others in need. Through this opportunity, I want to make a difference in the community, immerse myself in a different culture, and have new experiences by meeting new people.
My personal heroes are my parents and my sister. They encourage me to do better for the world and love me unconditionally. I am truly grateful and blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people.back to top