2015 Sejong Writing Competition
|Adult Division||Senior Division||Junior Division|
Bronx High School
9th grade, Ms. Erin Sharpe
Gaston Day School
8th grade, Ms. Eden Merritt
Bishop Strachan School
Los Angeles, CA
6th grade, Ms. Connie Schneider
St. Lawrence University
11th grade, Ms. Lona Klein
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Bowling Green, OH
8th grade, Ms. Eimile Green
Maumee Valley Country Day School
|Hyo Jung Julie Ha
La Crescenta, CA
11th grade, Mr. Derrel Furutani
Crescenta Valley High School
Los Angeles, CA
8th grade, Ms. Alysia Park
11th grade, Ms. Janette Benson
Sprayberry High School
8th grade, Ms. Rebecca Price
Liberty Middle School
9th grade, Mr. Brian Jones
Solon High School
Las Vegas, NV
8th grade, Mr. Ben Koch
The Adelson Educational Campus
11th grade, Ms. Victoria Barr
Murrieta Valley High School
8th grade, Ms. Eimile Green
Maumee Valley Country Day School
*Honorable Mention - Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
My name is Tabrez Alam, and I am currently a senior at the Bronx High School of Science. I will be graduating this year and will be attending this fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I have always had reverence for Korean culture since I started studying Tae Kwon Do in the third grade with a traditional master who would tell parables about Eastern philosophy as well as teach us the various forms that exist in the art. As a history buff, I really appreciated the evolving nature of Kim Aeran's "Run, Dad" as it seems to capture the sense of the rapidly changing times in Korea due to the unprecedented scale of economic growth during the late 20th century. Furthermore, as a fan of writers like Vladimir Nabokov, I appreciated the subtle "word games" played in the text over the perception of reality, like a puzzle. All in all, this writing experience was very fun and I hope to at least dabble more into Korean language and culture while at MIT in conjunction to my interest in pursuing a career in academic medicine.
My name is Tessa Yang, and I’m a senior and creative writing major at St. Lawrence University. I first learned about this competition when I saw a poster advertising it on the English department bulletin board. I was especially excited that the prompt concerned narrative unreliability, as this was the focus of my honors thesis. From Kim Aeran’s short story “Run, Dad!”, I gained a greater appreciation for Korean literary culture, as well as the methods by which an author can negotiate the gap between an unreliable narrator and the audience. This August, I will be attending the MFA fiction writing program at Indiana University.
You can find 9th grader Katie Danis lurking in the corners of bookstores or languishing in the cushiony chairs of the school library with her AP Psychology book balanced precariously on her outstretched legs. Failing that, you may want to check the piano practice room; just follow the sound of insufferably loud singing and rapid arpeggios. She might be away at a track meet, in which case you can wait in her room, to which she will inevitably return to work on her latest literary and musical pieces. She is available for petsitting and tutoring but will refrain from posting her phone number. She would like to thank her mom, dad, grandparents, brother Jamie, brother Paul (born in Korea), three dogs, MacGyver the fish, and teacher Ms. Sharpe for encouraging her to enter this competition.
A junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), Esther Kim decided to participate in the Sejong writing competition to gain greater knowledge of South Korean literature and poetry.
At Jefferson, Esther is in her third year of working on the newspaper staff. As the Opinion Editor and Business Manager, Esther manages the Opinion section and hopes to bring out the unique voice of Jefferson on current events.
Esther’s lifelong passion in writing originated from her love of reading newspapers and magazines. During her free time, Esther enjoys reading “The New York Times,” “The New Yorker,” and “The Economist” to learn more about the world around her.
Aside from academics, Esther serves as the Features Editor of Threshold, Jefferson’s literary magazine, and the secretary of tjUNICEF. Esther also debates for the TJ Policy Debate team and works as the Chief Editor of Teens-Helping-Kids (THinK) club.
After high school, Esther would like to pursue a career in business or law.
My name is Julie Ha and I am a Junior at Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta, California. Some of my diverse hobbies include reading, watching movies, listening to music, and going on “food-tours“ with my friends. Although I don't consider myself an outstanding writer, I've always enjoyed literature. My favorite classes at school include math (especially calculus) and science. After completing college, I hope to go to medical school. As a Korean-American, I have always been proud of my heritage and the unique environment I grew up in. Through “Mama and the Boarder,” I learned more about traditional Korean culture and literature. This passage was especially interesting for me because I enjoy studying how women's roles in society have changed over time. While writing this essay, I was able to reflect on how social roles have been unfairly enforced upon women throughout history. I hope to apply the lessons I learned into a larger context and teach my peers that Chu's message in his short story is relevant to issues in contemporary society. I would like to thank Mr. Furutani and my former English teachers for fostering a greater depth of literary knowledge and passion in me and Sejong Cultural Society for providing students with a great opportunity to learn about Korean culture.
My name is Vivian Jiang, and I am a freshman at Solon High School in Solon, OH. I am pretty much a typical high school student, absorbed in homework and extracurriculars. My hobbies include running and playing the piano and violin, among others.
I stumbled upon the Sejong essay competition online while looking for ways to improve my writing skills. I always enjoy learning about other cultures, so participating in the competition was a great, fun thing for me to do. I think I really learned a lot about Korean culture and history, just by reading Mama and the Boarder. The short story taught me about past social issues, which is something that relates not only to Korean culture, but to other cultures as well. I would like to thank the Sejong Cultural Society for this opportunity!
Writing is my sole sol, soul. It lets me well rave and rail rage in the cordial silence, and I do not get the chance often with people. I came to Canada from South Korea five years ago, in the winter of 2010, and started speaking “average Canadian” English at the age of 9, but wrote anything and everything I could half of the time. I would like to thank The Masters, especially Nabokov, whose book struck me into writing this essay. I would like to thank the contest for the enjoyable and worthy experience. I would not particularly like to thank the usual, the friends who bully me who dotes on them, the cruel elementary teachers, the distant family, but I do. I would like to thank myself, because writing is the life of my love, the love of my life, my liver and legs, and I would like to thank every writing-lover there is.
Hello my name is Rebecca Chung and I am currently an eighth grader at Liberty Middle School who loves to play the oboe and hang out with friends. I first heard about the Sejong Writing Competition from my teacher. About every month she finds an essay contest to recommend students to enter, and it happened to be one of them. I've actually learned a lot while writing my essay. For example, I found it easier to expand my writing by comparing and contrasting the characters of each folktale with my own personal experiences instead of continuously explaining the morals and main ideas. The folktales reminded me how important filial devotion is in my family's culture, and that I should never forget it despite how I've also adapted to the Western culture. I was first inspired to writing by my debate teacher around two years ago. He helped me engage and improve in my writing throughout the years of his teaching. From that, I hope to be able to win scholarships from other essay contests in the near future.