Write from the Heart Essay Contest Winners!
High School Winners
We are so excited to announce the high school winners of our 3rd annual essay contest.
Students in our annual classes submitted an essay of their choice, and one winner was chosen in each grade. Today, we are pleased to share the winning essays from 9th-12th grade!
9th Grade Winner
Dahye L., South Korea
Literature & Composition 201
My Little Star
I stood in the corner of the field and watched two-year-old Seohyun attempting to dribble the soccer ball across the field with her short chubby legs. During her attempt, the ball kept going the wrong way, rousing Seohyun’s frustration. “No! Not that way!” she would shout at the ball while running after it. While Seohyun was just a stranger to me about two years ago, I started to realize that I couldn’t imagine my life without her now. That is why my bright little star Seohyun, my foster sister, is one of the most important people in my life. Ever since she came to our family two years ago, she has changed the course of our lives. Before she came, I had been writing essays for my parents trying to convince them to adopt a child. However, my parents decided to take in a foster child instead. Then, on July 23, 2020, my two siblings and I were introduced to Seohyun. I can still remember the moment when I first saw her. She had very little hair, strong-looking legs, and huge eyes. At first, she kept crying, but after a little while I was able to watch her vigorously sucking her bottle. For the first few months I treated her like a stranger’s child. I kept a distance from her and made sure that I didn’t get too attached because I knew that I would have to part with her someday in the future. I went with the fact that she isn’t officially a part of our family. When both of my siblings had gotten used to kissing her chubby cheeks, I could only stare at them unable to make my move. However, after around three months, the barrier could no longer be between us. Even if she had a different last name or look different, she is a part of our family. Now she has grown taller and stronger, filled with love and energy. She is so kind, sweet, firm, and beautiful. Even at her pre-school, she is known for putting others before herself and helping all her friends. She has the sweetest little baby voice as she has learned to talk a little bit now. Anyone who hears her say, “Wow! That’s good!”, or “It’s OK!” can’t help but smile or laugh out loud. She can even open the refrigerator now, so it no longer surprises me to see her walking into my room holding up an ice cream and saying, “Scissors” so that she can open her little treat. With Seohyun in our lives, I have been able to learn to love, care, and have patience with babies. She has been a little star, shining brightly for everyone with her innocent and loving heart. I would love for her to stay with us forever, but if she must back to her biological parents, or anywhere for that matter, I wish and pray she can be loved and happy there as well.
Honorable Mention—Elisabeth J., Maryland “The Potato Metaphor” (Composition 103)
Honorable Mention—Lucia K., California “The Words of a Mountain Gal” (Composition 104)
10th Grade Winner
Roy K., South Korea
Literature & Composition 201
What a Casual Shove into the Room Did to Me
Last November, I was standing on a small stage with a bunch of other friends, singing and dancing together. We were putting on a show we’d been working on for several months, and although it was an extremely amateur show, we all had great fun in the attempt. However just six months ago, I did not even imagine I would be doing such a thing.
Here’s how it all came around. There was this teenager musical club funded by the government. Although I was an introvert, shy type of person, and had absolutely no intention of going onstage, I was very interested in the backstage works. I wanted to write scripts, choreograph dances, and mix music from behind as the other kids performed out front. So I joined in as the staff, and made it very clear that I would not be participating in the show itself, but would like to work backstage.
The leader said yes.
I think she forgot she said yes.
Starting from our first meeting, I was casually shoved into the room with the rest of the kids to practice for the show. Before I could protest, I was learning dance moves, making harmonic chords, and in a whisk of six months, standing onstage.
But in that process, something happened that I didn’t even imagine happening: I was beginning to enjoy myself. Before, I didn’t know a single dance move, but now, I liked to dance (not to say that I’m good at it, but I do like it). Before, I was pretty much horrified at the idea of singing in front of anyone, but now I enjoyed singing something I practiced for a long time to a crowd of strangers. Before, I didn’t imagine I was a stage-type person, but turned out, I kind of was!
Of course, those six months in the musical club didn’t suddenly turn me into an outgoing extroverted person. I’m still pretty shy, and I still don’t really like performing in front of people. However, I learned of a new, or rather, an undiscovered part of me. By unintentionally becoming part of something I never would have volunteered to be part of, I discovered the other me that enjoyed the stage. (Interestingly, the song I sang in the musical show last year was titled ‘Start of Something New’)
I should thank our dear forgetful leader who forgot I joined in as the staff, and as a result, let me discover a new me.
Honorable Mention—Sophia G., Ohio “The Summer Experience” (Literature & Composition 201)
Honorable Mention—Molly R., Virginia “Untitled” (Literature & Composition 202)
11th/12th Grade Winner
Jacob P., Alaska
There’s More to Life than Meets the Eye
The world is a beautiful place, Alex thought. He walked down an old brick path that led deeper into the woods. He heard the birds chirping and felt the warm rays of sunlight on his skin. He looked ahead and saw the forest open, and a green pasture expanded into the horizon. He saw wild horses grazing and a small log hut in the distance. He looked up and noticed the sun was already starting to set and realized how soon night would fall. He doubled his pace and went forward into the pasture. He startled a small group of rabbits as he walked into the field and towards the cabin. As he drew near, he saw the sun setting between two hills of green and a brilliant red and orange sky stretched out into the distance. Hearing the quiet of the wilds and the peace of the forest was enlightening. This made him remember about all the time he had spent at a desk doing a mindless task for a small amount of money so he could scrape by. Spending his weekends watching tv and sitting on the couch lounging around. He realized that life could be so much more than just the next paycheck, or the newest gadget. Filled with a supreme sense of peace and excitement for the days ahead he drifted off inside that small cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Honorable Mention—Anna D., Pennsylvania “Frantically Dancing” (Literature & Composition 202)
Honorable Mention—Vanessa N., Iowa “Growing by Example” (Literature & Composition 301)