Four Columbia high school seniors received achievement awards in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English.
Hickman seniors Ryan Jarvis, Kenneth Tanand Anita Sadhu, and Rock Bridge senior Joel Fox won the award.
Faculty at Hickman were allowed to nominate five juniors for the award last year, one for every 500 students enrolled at the school.
More than 2,500 juniors were nominated across the country, and 689 received the award. Eighteen of those were from Missouri. Each state’s maximum number of winners is equal to twice the number of the state’s congressional representatives.
Nominees had to submit a 10-page portfolio of writing of their choice with an essay on one of two topics they wrote in two hours said George Frissell, a language arts teacher at Hickman.
“I think the two most important factors are voice and creativity,” Frissell said. “(The judges) weren’t looking for straight academic rhetoric.”
Jarvis said he writes a lot of editorials, most of them for school. He submitted both humorous and serious samples to the contest. Jarvis works for the student newspaper as a writer and photographer but has never taken a journalism class. He recently worked on a story about Wiccan religion.
Jarvis is considering attending MU and majoring in journalism. Outside of school, he plays drums in his band, which he describes as a mixture of “rock, blues, and hip-hop.”
Tan wrote an essay about his first trip outside American to his family’s homeland, Malaysia. His essay discussed differences in the cultures of Malaysia and the United States.
“My family is the only one out of my entire extended family that lives in the U.S.,” Tan said.
Tan also submitted a reflection about patriotism in light of the 9-11 attacks and the war in Iraq.
“In previous American wars, there has been a huge sense of sacrifice for everyone in the country,” Tan said. “Now it doesn’t affect most people personally. It’s important for Americans to have a 24-7 sense of patriotism,”
Tan plays tennis at Hickman and plays the violin in the school’s orchestra. He also plays the piano.
Tan’s possible college choices include Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and several schools in California“anywhere out of the Midwest,” Tan said.
Tan is interested in internal medicine and is considering an undergraduate degree in biology or biochemistry. He thinks he will continue to write after high school.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing, and it’s finally paid off,” he said.
Sadhu submitted a journalistic piece from an interview with a woman who survived a cerebral aneurism and rode in a 75 kilometer bicycle race shortly after. She also wrote a humorous essay about how stress affects the lives of her peers and how to alleviate it.
Sadhu said she is a better anecdotal writer than a research-oriented writer. She draws a lot from personal experience and likes to include sarcasm in her writing. She plays on the golf team at Hickman and is interested in multi-cultural and service organizations. She is also president of Trireme, a girls’ service club at Hickman.
Sadhu is considering Northwestern University as her college choice and is interested in becoming a doctor. She is considering a double major in international studies and biology to broaden her horizons.
The students agree that the language arts staff at Hickman played a role in their success.
“It’s a huge honor,” Sadhu said. “There are a lot of really good writers at Hickman, and we were lucky enough to be given an opportunity to show our stuff.”