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Fall 2013 Winning Essays and Literary Gems

Fall 2013 Writing Competition Essay Winners read and responded to Simon Okelo's YES! article, "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff."

The YES! National Student Writing Competition gives students the chance to write for a real audience and be published by an award-winning magazine. Each quarter, students have the opportunity to read and respond to a selected YES! Magazine article.

For Fall 2013, participants read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," by Simon Okelo, a story about learning to live with less in the midst of abundance. The writing prompt was "Simon Okelo, who grew up in Kenya, had to relearn what 'enough' means. He came to appreciate the volume of options at Costco, but practiced restraint to purchase just what he needed. Imagine that you simplified your life. What things would you choose to pare down or get rid of? What might change for you? What might change for society if other people did this?"

Congratulations to our essay winners: Middle School—Annika Holliday; High School—Spencer Reed; College—Sana Naz; and Powerful Voice—Nick Young.

And, thank you to all writers who submitted essays.

 


Fall 2013 Middle School Winner Annika Holliday Fall 2013 Middle School Winner Annika Holliday
Annika Holliday is a student of Carter Latendresse at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article “Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff,” by Simon Okelo. Read Annika's essay about the uselessness of stuff—like trophies and goodie bags.
Fall 2013 High School Winner Spencer Reed Fall 2013 High School Winner Spencer Reed
Spencer Read is a student of Mark Cline-Lucey at Vermont Commons School in Middlebury, Vermont. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, “Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff,” by Simon Okelo. Read Spencer’s essay about his desire to level the economic playing field so that more people can have more—and then choose less.
Fall 2013 College Winner Sana Naz Fall 2013 College Winner Sana Naz
Sana Naz is a student of Professor Jamie Olson at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, “Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff,” by Simon Okelo. Read Sana's essay about how her consumption habits shifted when she moved from Pakistan to the United States.
Fall 2013 Powerful Voice Winner Nick Young Fall 2013 Powerful Voice Winner Nick Young
Nick Young is a student of Jenny Campbell at Langley Middle School in Langley, Washington. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, “Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff,” by Simon Okelo. Read Nick's essay about how giving up his iPhone4 and his beloved dog Lucas would greatly affect his life.
Simon Okelo's Response to Fall 2013 Essay Winners Simon Okelo's Response to Fall 2013 Essay Winners
Simon Okelo, author of "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," responds to essay winners of the Fall 2013 writing competition.
Fall 2013 Literary Gems Fall 2013 Literary Gems
We received many powerful essays for the Fall 2013 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
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