The Program

Prize Essays: What are those and why should you care?

By Chinazor Ike-Njoku

Picture this: Graduation day is finally here, and the Placita, as you would expect, is packed with students and faculty and loved ones and cameras. The ceremony has just begun, and in the brief moment that precedes loud chants and cheers, you get called up to walk across the podium (or a laptop, since virtual commencements are the norm). The College President offers you a warm smile and a firm handshake, in time for a few cameras to click. Just then, he presents you with an award in recognition of your hard work and creativity. What’s more, your written piece gets listed on the School’s renowned collection of prized essays, a literal book of fame. Wait, it is not over yet! Right there, at that moment, you are gifted with hundreds of dollars because it is a part of the jumbo treat. Could anything beat that? Right, because I thought so too.

If you’re anything like me, you probably dismissed the memo in your cluttered mailbox that offered you an opportunity to win this combo deal. Luckily for me, a day before the deadline, I found out through a casual conversation with my sister (an SJC alumna), that students received writing awards, and in fact, I could receive one if I submitted a short story in time. What are the odds that you will run into an alumna who casually brings up prize essays in conversation? Close to none if you ask me. That is why I have put this out. Hopefully, after reading through, you will never miss a chance at it again.

Now, what are the prize essays, and how do you qualify to win any? Twice every year, the college puts out letters about the annual essay prizes. In these letters, there is a schedule of what students and tutors may submit. The categories open for submission in Santa Fe include DIY-Euclid propositions, original fiction and poetry, Greek, French, and Sanskrit translations, seminar papers, and senior essays. While the winning seminar papers and senior essays are decided on by the tutors, every other category is open to students for individual submission. So, all you really have to do is write something up, submit it to the dean’s office in time, and hope it gets picked from the multitude of entries. And don’t you worry about deadlines, you have almost an entire school year to turn in your work. Do you see how easy it is to win yourself the treat? Now go out there and get those accolades while we cheer you on!

The student writing staff of the johnnie chair blog

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