I am a judge for a regional high school student competition. Students are given a quote from a great thinker and have to write an essay about it. This year’s quote is complex and deep.
The high-schoolers who participate in the contest struggle with a quote that they are too young to understand. I struggle with faulty grammar, endless dictionary definitions, and adolescent posturing.
And then, the very last of the 27 “best of the best” essays offers an unexpected gift. The young author decided to skip stringing on platitudes in essay form and handed in a short story instead. The connection between the story and the quote is strong but understated. And there’s definitely talent. It’s a budding talent that will need time to mature but it’s there.
Of course, I gave this kid the highest marks. But I don’t think he’ll win because he didn’t follow any of the proposed rules. Which is funny given that the quote was about the importance of independent thinking.