2015 Sejong Writing Competition
|First Place||Zion Kim
Little Neck, NY
11th grade, Ms. Charlene Levi
|Second Place||Emma Kein
7th grade, Ms. Rebecca Trsar
Hickory Creek Middle School
|Third Place||Talia Rochlin
River Edge, NJ
10th grade, Mr. Stephen Kaplan
Bergen County Academies
St. Louis, MO
11th grade, Ms. Melissa Lynn Pomerantz
Parkway North High School
Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
9th grade, Mr. Troy Pachner
D'Evelyn Junior/Senior High School
San Gabriel, CA
12th grade, Ms. Marguerita Drew
Gabrielino High School
11th grade, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgenson
Arrowhead Union High School
12th grade, Mr. Mike Rossi
Neuqua Valley High School
12th grade, Mr. Stephen Kaplan
Bergen County Academies
My name is Zion Kim and I'm a junior at Townsend Harris High School at Queens College in New York. Writing a sijo poem in English was, for me, like having one foot in one world and the other foot in a completely different world. I was immediately interested in this contest because although growing up in this country has led me to assimilate to the American culture, I have always been very proud of being Korean and jumped at any opportunity to embrace my heritage. The sijo allowed me to express both my American side as well as my Korean side, representing the beautiful balance between two opposites that both carry so much meaning in my life.
The story behind my sijo is also deeply rooted in my personal life. I have a brother with multiple disabilities, and growing up with him has created in me a deep understanding of how difficult life is for the disabled and a burning passion to work for them to one day gain the recognition and acceptance they deserve in our critical society. I wanted to express this compassion I have in my sijo, so I wrote about the moment when a man in a wheelchair decides not to let his disabilities limit him from reaching his potential or exclude him from the world.
I hope that through my sijo, people will be able to see, at least for a moment, life through the eyes of those who endure discrimination, misunderstanding, and all sorts of hardships because of their disabilities. I’m sincerely thankful that I had this chance to express parts of myself that I hold very dear to my heart.
My name is Emma Kein and I am a 7th grader at Hickory Creek Middle School in Frankfort, IL. I enjoy playing the cello, club volleyball, and travel basketball. In my free time, I also enjoy hanging out with my friends.
I would personally like to thank my Everest teacher, Mrs. Trsar, for encouraging me to enter the Sijo contest and teaching me the history of Sijo poetry. When she told me that I got 2nd place I was so shocked. I never expected to do this well when I entered my poem.
I also would like to thank my friends and family for everything they do. Whether it is driving me to my activities or encouraging me to do my best, they are always there for me. The Sejong Cultural Society, Sijo contest has helped me grow as a writer and a poet.
Hi! My name is Talia Rochlin and I am currently a sophomore at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. In my spare time I play softball and soccer for my school teams. I’ve always loved building things. In the future, I would like to major in aerospace engineering. One day I would hope to work for NASA. I learned about this competition during my creative writing elective earlier this year. Before my teacher told me about this competition, I had never heard of this kind of poem. It was such an interesting experience to learn more about the Korean culture and about my writing style in it of itself. I was so excited to hear that I came in third place! I’ve always enjoyed writing, but over the past year I’ve become really interested in becoming a better writer.
I’m a seventeen-year-old junior that attends Parkway North High School in St. Louis, Missouri. I’d have to say my greatest interest is in music. I’m in the band at my school in which I play the Horn in F, and I spend a large amount of my time listening to all kinds of music, from hip-hop to heavy metal. The common thread between these is the lyrics of the music, which tend to be dark. This reflected in my poem, which in turn was dark. My main goal in the future is to keep experiencing new things. I entered this contest at the request of my teacher, Mrs. Pomerantz in the poetry class offered at my school.
Hello, my name is Lillie Chapin, I heard about this competition in my history class while learning about Korea. My teacher, Mr. Pachner, encouraged everyone in the class to participate in the Sijo competition. While writing my Sijo, I learned the fluency and beauty that comes with writing a Sijo. I also learned my writing style and voice when I was trying to discover a a subject for my poem. My personal heroes are my mother and Mr. Pachner, they both heavily influence my life and express the fact that working hard is an aspect of life. Mr. Pachner is my freshman non- western civilization teacher, who not only teaches essential skills to become a successful student but he teaches his students how to become respectful and successful individuals. Mr. Pachner is a man, who has many time consuming jobs but he is never too busy to help out his students understand the curriculum. He constantly shows aspects of a marvelous role model. My mom is also a role model of mine, two years ago she was diagnosed with 3 different types of cancer. During this time, she always kept a smile on her face and kept on fighting. With her persistence, today she is in remission. My future goals is go to college and become a doctor, though my plans for the future is to constantly make my mom proud of me through showing her my success and show her the same persistence that she has taught me.
I am a senior at Gabrielino High School. I have always struggled with writing poetry but through the Sijo competition, I have learned that poetry can be fun! I plan on becoming a nurse in the future and hope to continue writing (short stories and poems) as a hobby. I love to draw and eat mangos!
Meghedi Tamazian is a seventeen year old girl who resides in a Chicago suburb. She is a member of her school's speech team and competes in the individual event of "Poetry Reading." She has represented her school in numerous literary conferences, festivals, and magazines and has been mentored by renowned poets such as Kevin Coval and Roger Bonair-Agard. In Fall 2015, she will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue degrees in English and Education and aspires to teach at the collegiate level.