08 Jul 2015

Wednesday 08 July 2015

Competing with over 3,000 other teenagers from around the globe, Nicolas Yan never dreamed he’d have a chance of winning the 2015 Writing Prize contest run by the College Board and The Atlantic magazine in the United States. When he was informed that he was the winner, and will soon be published, it was the most surreal experience.

Year 13 King’s College student Nicolas entered the competition, which has the aim of encouraging students to engage thoughtfully with important texts to build knowledge, deepen understanding and share it effectively. 

Twenty-five prescribed texts were offered, and Nicolas’ choice was Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, “I have a dream”.

This year’s competition was judged by 40 college professors of history, political science and composition, with the winning essay being selected by a panel of College Board and The Atlantic staff. They said that Nicolas’ work “stood out as a successful demonstration of analytical writing”.

The prize package for Nicolas includes USD$5,000 and publication in the September issue of the magazine.

“It's unbelievable that I will be published in The Atlantic. It's incredibly honouring to consider that my words will appear in a publication that housed the works of such luminaries as Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov. I don’t think it will sink in until I physically see my essay on the pages of the magazine.”

Nicolas was flown to Washington D.C., accompanied by his parents and King’s College Head of English Steve Walker, to be presented with his award at The Atlantic’s Education Summit.

With the prize money, Nicolas will put half away for his tertiary education, and the remainder will support a fundraiser he is running for Nepal, after the devastating earthquake that occurred there in April this year.

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