Local Students Recognized for Their Words
In an era of 140 characterisms, two local students are acknowledged for their essay skills.
It's the middle of summer and few high school students are thinking about what they did last year. Instead, they're looking toward the school year ahead, day one all too close on the horizon. But amid the summer fun, we thought we'd take time to acknowledge two local essayists who came across the Reader radar this year for their writing and the recognition and experiences they received as a result of simply using their words, a practice much undervalued of late.
The first budding writer is Shayma Musa, 14, of Erie, Pennsylvania, a rising senior at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PACyber) headquartered in Midland, Pennsylvania, who intends to go pre-med when she starts college. Shayma's essay, an entry in the TutaPoint Education inaugural Scholarship Essay Contest, explains how she took a teacher's suggestion and sought help from TutaPoint, which offers students at PACyber online tutoring in a variety of subjects and grade levels.
"My personal mantra goes a bit like this, 'Do good,'" Shayma wrote in her essay. "Yeah, it's short and not very detailed, but it sums up my entire personal view of what I should do to achieve academic success. And I usually did well in school, in fact, I did great! But then I hit high school….and everything went wrong." (Read the full essay here.)
Shayma's experience is not unique, in online environments or in traditional classrooms. Her honesty about it is unique, and it netted her the $250 scholarship from TutaPoint.
The second young essayist is a soon-to-be ninth grader in the Fort LeBoeuf School District whose essay earned him one of four spots to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. During his eighth grade experience, Lukas Seggi penned a 650 word meditation on the world and his place in it.
"It is not what I have done so far that defines me," Seggi wrote, "but what I have learned and experienced. Now, you are probably wondering why I think I deserve to place the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And, well, I don't. I deserve it as much and as little as any other student. I'm just a normal kid, nothing special about me. But I still try to do my best in everything I attempt to do. My mistakes and my triumphs have made me who I am and led me to where I am now, writing this essay. And still, I am not special. I am Lukas Seggi, and I would value this honor and experience because of what it means to not only myself, but to my family, my school, and my country." (Read the full essay here.)
Lukas took part in the wreath laying ceremony in May as part of a school trip to Washington D.C.
Jim Wertz can be reached at jWertz@ErieReader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @jim_wertz.