Over 700 students from more than 20 different countries participated in the 2019 PenPal Schools Personal Essay Contest. Students wrote about their families, favorite hobbies, and special possessions. Students wrote about academic and athletic accomplishments, their experiences moving, and the loss of family members. After reviewing each essay and looking at the reactions and comments that each essay received from peers in the PenPal community, our team selected three contest winners and ten contest finalists!
2019 Personal Essay Contest Winners
Vineet is an 8th Grade student from India. Vineet wrote a personal narrative essay about his experience in the Sea Cadet Training Corps. As Vineet explains in his essay, the Sea Cadet Training Corps is a non-governmental organisations in India that has prepared thousands of cadets to be responsible citizens.
In addition to the Sea Cadet Training Corps, Vineet enjoys reading books of mythology. One day, Vineet hopes to travel to New Zealand.
Naomi is a 6th Grade student from New Zealand. Naomi wrote a personal narrative essay about her experience being diagnosed with asthma and the impact that asthma has had on her athletics, academics, and even her relationships with friends.
Naomi’s favorite subject is English because, “I love to read, learn new things, and express myself through writing.” Naomi loves to read all kinds of books, and plays flute in a band. When asked where in the world she would love to travel, Naomi explained that, “I would travel to South America. I would do this because of the diverse culture, people, and places.”
Our final contest winner is Jimmy, a 7th grade student who lives in the United States. Jimmy wrote a personal narrative about his journey as an international student. In addition to comparing schools in China and the United States, Jimmy’s essay explores the challenges that international students can face as they adapt to a new environment.
Jimmy loves to play sports, especially ping pong! If he could travel anywhere in the world, Jimmy would go to Europe because he loves to watch soccer and would like to attend matches in Europe. When asked what advice Jimmy has for other students on PenPal Schools, Jimmy encourages his peers to, “Try your best!"
2019 Personal Essay Contest Finalists
So many bright and talented students participated in the Personal Essay Contest that in addition to our three contest winners, we are excited to recognize a number of contest finalists.
Nazurah is a student from Singapore. She is a member of the library club at her school. Other than promoting books, Nazurah and her club-mates do volunteer work such as helping the elderly and help collecting food for donation.
Muna is a 10th grade student from Jordan. If she could travel anywhere in the world she would travel to Russia and Bhutan. Muna explains that, “both [countries] have incredibly rich heritage and culture. Russia especially has many amazing museums.”
Jazlene is a 5th grade student from the United States. In her award winning essay, Jazelen wrote about her experience in the school band. Band has helped Jazlene learn many important skills from how to stay organized, to how to practice the saxophone without disturbing her neighbors.
Nuuman is a 6th grade student from the United States. Nuuman wrote an action-packed narrative essay about going to an NBA basketball game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors. When asked how he felt when he learned he was a contest finalist, Nuuman explained, “I was surprised, because I didn’t really think I would get the award. I was also happy because that was my ultimate goal in the contest!”
Alejandra is a 9th grade student from Mexico. In her winning essay, Alejandra wrote a narrative essay about her family’s vacation to Cancun. It’s no surprise that Alejandra was a contest finalist! Her favorite subjects are “English and Spanish because in these subjects I have the opportunity to write about different topics that I enjoy.
Mikey is a 5th grade student from the United States. In his award winning essay, Mikey wrote about his experience playing football. Mikey’s favorite subjects in school are math and reading. "I like math because I get to figure out real world story problems. I like reading because I get to read other peoples work that they published." When he’s not playing football, Mikey likes to hang out with family, play outside, and read.
Evan is an 8th grade student from the United States. Evan wrote a descriptive essay about his favorite animal, the puffer fish! When Evan isn't studying at school he likes to play badminton, read, and play video games. He is also an active member of his school's cooking club and photography club. When asked where in the world he would like to travel, Evan replied, "I would travel to to Egypt, Japan, or India because I like food."
Kurt is an 8th grade student from the United States. Kurt chose to write a descriptive essay about his favorite article of clothing, his rubber clogs. In his essay, Kurt provides a detailed description about his favorite shoes and explains how he has continued to purchase the same style shoes as his feet continue to grow! When asked what advice he has for his peers on PenPal Schools, Kurt explained, "Be kind, and give constructive criticism to others!"