2006 Sejong Writing Competition
|Senior Division||Junior Division|
|First Place||Clara Yoon
(West Bloomfield, MI)
10th grade, International Academy
(Hoffman Estates, IL)
8th grade, Plum Grove Junior High
|Second Place||Jennifer Kim
(Virginia Beach, VA)
12th grade, Frank W. Cox High School
7th grade, Poquoson Middle School
|Third Place||Jessica Lim
11th grade, Glenbrook North High School
6th grade, Highcrest Middle School
Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
10th grade, Copley High School
(Rolling Meadows, IL)
8th Grade, Plum Grove Junior High
(Green Oaks, IL)
11th grade, Libertyville High School
(South Barrington, IL)
12th grade, Barrington High School
Clara Yoon is a 16-year-old sophomore who had been born in Massachusetts but has lived in Michigan for most of her life. Clara enjoys singing in the A Capella choir at school and is also active in the Model UN and Drama Clubs. Clara also has taken up several leadership roles in the school community, like being Student Council Vice President.
Clara entered this competition because she felt very strongly about her Korean pride and also wanted to make her parents, her personal heroes, proud. After writing this essay, Clara felt that Korean culture has made some progress in being spread throughout American culture, but there is still room for improvement.
Clara plans to continue telling all her friends about the Korean wave and will continue to embrace her Korean background.
I was born in NYC. As a young girl, I aspired to become a pediatrician, but aftre taking my first journalism class as a sophomore in high school, I quickly changed my mind to becoming a journalist. My newspaper advisor was the one who introduced me to this competition and I submitted an essay because the topics were so unique from the other essay competitions I've entered. While writing this essay, I discovered that I write better personal narrative essays than any other kind of essay.
I write for the teen section of the local newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot, and I served as the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper, the Falcon Press. I still play the piano, as well as the violin. During my free time, I love to hang out with my family and friends and go to the beach. My hero is my mom, who was always there for me, during the hard times and the bad, and whether I failed or succeeded. I will attend New York University in the fall as a Broadcast Journalim major, and I aspire to one day become a news anchor for one of the major broadcast stations.
I was born in Chicago and have lived in picturesque suburbia ever since. I participate in various clubs at my high school, such as Spanish National Honors Society, Model UN, Science Club, National Honors Society, and volunteer at the local hospital. And although I enjoy being an involved student, I also love just catching a movie with my friends, eating galbi at a family barbeque, and sleeping for long periods of time. While continuing my passion for creative writing, I also hope to pursue a career in medicine and become a doctor.
I entered this competition because it offered me an opportunity to express my gratitude towards the struggles my parents have undergone as first generation Korean-Americans. It is an appreciation that I have never been able to confess to them openly. But through this essay, I was able to break out of the God complex that many teenagers suffer from and acknowledge the sacrifices my parents have made so that I could have a better life. And as cliché as that may sound, it is the reason why my parents are my personal heroes.
When my parents introduced me to the topic of this writing competition, I was very burdened with the thought of having to write another essay. When I read the essay topics, however, one of them caught my interest. This particular topic forced me to reflect on how my life was as a child of first-generation Korean-American parents. As I looked back on my life, I decided to take the essay more seriously.
I have always been a mediocre writer in school. Because of my interest in the essay topic, however, I decided to put some effort into making this one essay a quality paper. Sure enough through hard work, persistence and support from my family and teachers, I was able to attain not only a commendable paper, but also the motivation to try harder in other future essay assignments. Participating in this essay competition has also taught me how fortunate and blessed I am to be born into this family. Moreover, I realized the tremendous amount of work and sacrifice my parents had to make so that I could become the person I am today.
In the future, I am hoping that I can improve my writing skills so that I can be prepared for future essay assignments in high-school and, hopefully, in the college of my choice. During or after my college education, I plan on living in Korea for a year as an exchange student in order to become more familiar and connected with my ethnic background. After receiving a BBA at a university, I would like to pursue a career in business.
I have a variety of hobbies. In particular, I have a passion for singing. During my free time, I enjoy recording various songs and sharing my music with my friends and families. I also enjoy playing and making my own compositions on the piano. During the week days, I enjoy going to a local Tae Kwon Do academy to exercise and learn self defense. On Sundays, I serve my church by playing the guitar and leading praise during service.
My personal hero and also role model is Jesus Christ. I am a firm believer who constantly strives to be like Jesus every day. Jesus is the son of God who shows his love and grace towards everyone, regardless of their past. Jesus has saved my life, and thus deserves all my praise and adoration. I live sole for him.
Before I heard about this writing competition, I was amidst chaotic circumstances as I trouble-mindedly transitioned into a new school during my junior year. My mother then brought this writing competition to my attention, but I profusely objected to making my circumstances even more chaotic than they already were. However, after visiting Sejong Society’s website and reading the different essay prompts, I realized that the task at hand was one I could easily expand upon due to its relevance to my firsthand experiences as a Korean American living with first generation Korean American parents.
Through writing this essay, I learned that the challenges I wrote about actually had a lot to do with the rewards in living with first generation parents. I also learned that it was much easier to write about the rewards than it was to write about the challenges because the challenges I wrote about were issues that I had already dealt with early in my life and therefore no longer saw as hardships in living with my parents. On the other hand, the rewards of living with my parents continue to be evident as my relationship and appreciation for them grows.
My goal for the future, although vague, is simply to be able to succeed in whatever I choose to do. However, seeing as though college is only about a year away, my goal for the near future would be to get accepted into the university of my choice.
My hobbies include hanging out with my friends, shopping, listening to music, reading magazines and novels, going to concerts, and constantly keeping my schedule busy with exciting things to do!
My personal hero is Jesus Christ.
Eric Whitney recently graduated from Barrington High School as a member of the class of 2006. He will attend Stanford University in the fall.
Academically, Eric is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, as well as member of the National Honors Society, the Tri-M Music Honors Society, and the National Latin Honors Society. He has been a member of the Barrington Varsity Tennis and Cross Country teams.
Outside of school, Eric spends much of his time studying the cello. He has been a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for four years and has studied with Professor Hans Jensen of Northwestern University since he was in 7th grade. He has been a featured soloist with the Barrington High School Chamber Orchestra for the past three years.
In the future, Eric wishes to pursue a career in academia, business, or research. He considers Professor Jensen and Richard Feynman to be his personal heroes.
Eric entered the Sejong Cultural Society Writing Competition because felt it was a way to participate in the organization in which many close to him were heavily involved. As a result of writing and submitting his essay, Eric feels that he has come to better understsand and value his Korean heritage.
I am 14 years old. I'm just a typical girl who likes being with friends, playing guitar and piano, listening to music, writing, drawing, and playing tennis.
My dreams for the future stem from my hobbies since I want to be an author or a musician, preferably with the guitar. Writing is a big part of me and it helps me get a lot of my thoughts out.
Writing for this competition has helped me realize the importance of my heritage. When I first heard about it from my tutor, I just shrugged it off. After seeing the topics, I realized that I had a lot to say about being a Korean American. I think that's what really made me want to enter.
By entering this competition, I learned a lot more about how much I really love my Korean heritage. Before this, I kind of took it for granted and never thought too much about it, but writing it out definitely helped show me the importance of my heritage.
I thank my parents who would most definitely be my heroes, for being there for me all the time. They've gone through some stuff but they've always beaten the hardships and I want to learn from them.
My name is Sarah and I am 13 years old. Right now I live in Poquoson, Virginia. My dad is active duty military. I have lived all around the world including Japan, Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Montana, and I have visited China, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and many different states.
I entered my essay into this contest because I had to write an essay either about Korea or India for school. My friend and I decided to write about Korea since one of our best friends is from Korea. Our teacher gave us the rules and encouraged us to enter into the contest.
From writing this essay, I learned that I didn’t just teach Jimin, but she also taught me. Jimin has also helped me to explore the culture and language of another country.
One of my goals in the future is to get into the Air Force Academy in Colorado. I also want to write and play the flute more.
Some of my hobbies are sports, especially soccer, Girl Scouts, reading, writing, and playing my flute. Like most American girls, I also like to watch movies, hang out with my friends, and listen to my CDs or the radio.
My personal heroes are my parents because they love me and help me when I need it. They also have helped me to travel the world and I have realized that the Earth is a big place and it isn’t all about me.
I am a typical 11-year old boy living in the suburbs. I enjoy sports such as tennis, soccer, and basketball. As for an instrument, I’ve been playing violin for almost 5 years now, and I will start viola soon. In my free time, I like to read. In the future, all I know is that I want a job that would help people beyond the idea of material service, but something more like money management or legal services.
I entered this contest because I wanted to inform the Korean Community about what modern Americans think about, and also what other Koreans would think about international situations. Additionally, I wanted to see for myself what other people think and care about. I learned that many people have different opinions about other countries situations, and independent thought is the most important type of thinking. Not to forget, the process of entering a contest, as I learned, is grueling. Sending in an application form, taking surveys, and the essay itself were all very challenging and time consuming.
My role model has to be my sister, Sue, she is always hard-working and diligent, and never gives up and in any situation, she stays persistent and on task. She is my definition of hard work. I also appreciate my family very much for their support and inspiration. My family always gives me mental and emotional support whenever I face a challenge.
I am a 14 year old Korean-American girl. I love to play tennis, hang out with friends, watch korean dramas, and spend quality time with my family. I like to watch korean dramas for the fun of it and to expand my korean speaking skills. I love korean celebrities such as KIm Ki Bum and Brian Joo.
I entered my essay to this competition because my teacher suggested it. I go to Sabio academy for math and english. When I first wrote this I never imagined to win honorable mention. I had recently started up again with sabio english and I hadn't got the chance to expand my vocabulary.
As I wrote this essay, I never imagined how proud I was of being a korean. I realized as I wrote my essay that being Korean was something that was special. As I wrote my essay, I just wanted to tell other people how great our country is. So many things just popped into my head as I wrote this essay. I realized we had delicious food, amazing celebrities and a great history behind our lives.
My personal heroes are God and my family. I pray to God when I am in his need and he has always helped me. My family has been there for me every single day of my life. My parents who always cared for me and loved me. My two brothers that helped me whenever I needed them and always made me smile.
My goal in the future is to become a teacher. I want to become a teacher to help others learn and prepare them for the future. My mom always told me to become someone who helps others through life.