2013 Sejong Writing Competition
12th grade, John B. Alexander High School
Coral Springs, FL
12th grade, North Broward Preparatory School
11th grade, Notre Dame High School
San Gabriel, CA
12th grade, Gabrielino High School
Soddy Daisy, TN
11th grade, Notre Dame High School
Friend of the Pacific Rim Award
12th grade, Marist School
Maryland Heights, MO
12th grade, Parkway North High School
12th grade, Fox Chapel Area High School
10th grade, Townsend Harris High School
9th grade, Livingston High School
I'm Roberto Santos, an 18 year old senior at John B. Alexander High School. I had first heard of this competition as a class assignment for my English 4 class, and winning first place came as a great surprise! Without my teacher pushing the class to join, I probably would've never done it out of fear of failure. The fact that I won something for just writing thoughts I've always had with a creative twist still blows my mind!
I live in a border town made up of a Hispanic/Mexican majority, where Spanish is spoken just as much as English; although I'm proud of my heritage, English is still my primary language. In my spare time I make music with my friends and spend time with my family. I plan on majoring in musical engineering and help expose some of my talented friends' music.
Thanks to this competition I have more confidence in my academic capabilities, and feel inspired to participate in more writing competitions.
My name is Hannah Pohl, I am a senior in high school living in Florida. I love reading and my passion is art. I have always enjoyed poetry, Lord Alfred Tennyson is my favorite poet.
I heard about the contest from my creative writing teacher who introduced us to sijo poetry and encouraged the entire class to submit a poem. I had never really written a lot of poetry and never a sijo. It was interesting to learn. I was surprised and thrilled to discover I had received second place. My poem was inspired by my art, at the time I was working with ink.
My name is Brandon Harris and I am an eleventh grader at Notre Dame High School of Chattanooga, Tennessee. My English teacher encouraged my class to write three sijou poems and pick our best poem for the contest. I did not expect to place in the contest. My poem was inspired by my traveling experience to Palaski, Tennessee to play in a football game. My English teacher explained that an important part to a sijou poem is the descriptiveness of what your poem is about. I enjoy being outdoors which helped give me the idea to write about the cotton fields I vivdly remember in Palaski. I also enjoy learning the meanings behind songs and studying lyrics. Although sijous are not songs, I consider poems to be similar to lyrics and how they are used.
Winning this award is an honor and has taught me numerous things about poems in general. I have learned that poems come in many different forms. Certain poems can be better for the point a writer is trying to get across. Sijou poems describe surroundings and images we may want the reader to experience just as we did. This contest has insipred me to continue writing and study more poems.
My name is Amy Malo and I am a junior at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I enjoy reading classic literature, playing guitar, singing, painting, and other crafts. I am currently very indecisive about where my college studies should take me in the future. Asian culture and society has always intrigued me, and I was very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the sijo contest. I look up to many people for my inspiration and encouragement as a person, but the person who has made the most impact in my life is my father. From everyday choices, to life changing decisions, my dad has been there for me for everything and anything. I heard about this competition through my English teacher at school. I never expected to win anything, but I am glad to accept the great honor.
My name is Phillip Kim. I am a sophomore at Townsend Harris High School at Queens College. I found out about this contest from a list of other contests that my AP World teacher sent to my class via email. This contest stood out to me because I never heard of sijo in the Korean culture, being Korean myself. Writing a sijo made me feel more connected with my native culture. The sijo I wrote was based off of my experiences in middle school, where I did not have many friends. I was the smartest in my class at the time but I barely had any friends. I felt like an outcast in my school. Like a lone wolf, I had no pack to be with. I usually never write poetry but conveying my feelings through poetry felt good.
My future goals are to become a youtube director and star, to get into the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and to become a full fledged movie director. My hobbies are writing scripts, making videos, and playing video games. My personal hero is my brother who, though dropped out of high school, supports me and perseveres through life. My brotherhood, my goals, and my talents all help me conquer all of my challenges.
My name is Jeanna Qiu and I am a freshman at Livingston High School. I had entered this competition last year, winning an honorable mention in the junior essay competition. I really enjoyed the experience, and decided to enter again, challenging myself with a new writing style: the sijo.
One of my favorite hobbies is playing the cello. I am a student at the Manhattan School of Music precollege division under the direction of Mr. David Geber. My cello playing and my cello teacher's view of the instrument inspired me to write this poem. It seems a miracle to me that simple objects and physics can transform one's life.
I would like to thank my present and former cello teachers, Mr. Geber and Mrs. Kaller, for inspiring me and being wonderful mentors. I would also like to thank my Spanish teacher Sra. Gugger for inspiring a love and appreciation of poetry, writing, and the arts. As always, I am so grateful for my family's love and support throughout this experience. Once again, I am so grateful for this award and this has inspired me to keep writing and sharing my views through my words to the whole world.