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Spring 2013 Writing Competition Winning Essays

Spring 2013 Writing Competition Essay Winners who read and responded to April Dávila's YES! article, "A Month Without Monsanto."

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 Spring 2013, participants read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila's, a story about the pervasiveness of genetically modified organisms, and one person's experience completely avoiding them for a month. The writing prompt was “April Dávila discovered that around 70 percent of processed foods on American supermarket shelves contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Does this concern you? What matters most to you about the food you eat?"

Congratulations to our essay winners: Middle School—Sharon Lin; High School—Erica Young; University—Ryan Barry; and Powerful Voice—Russell Chiang.

And, thank you to all writers who submitted essays.

 


Spring 2013 Writing Competition Literary Gems

 

We received many powerful essays. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.

 

It’s easy to solve problems by calling on a superhero. As much as I would love that to be true, I realize I have to be my own superhero. I have to take control of what I eat and pass healthy food habits to my children.

—Omar Charles, grade 5, General George A. McCall Elementary School, Philadelphia, PA. To read Omar's full essay, click here.

 

During her research [Dávila] realized: “There is no easy way to avoid Monsanto.” She describes the company like a tremendous monster that slowly sneaks into the lives of a whole society, and once we let it in, it stays and starts to take control. This idea made me consider my own life and how dependent I am on huge companies. The first thing that entered my mind was Facebook, the biggest friend and enemy of the 21st century thus far.

—Constantin Metzger, Pädagogische Hochschule University of Education, Heidelberg, Germany. To read Constantin's full essay, click here.

 

A wise man said, ‘you are what you eat,” and if Monsanto joins us in every meal, then technically, we are Monsanto. But, do we really want to be? So, my message to the world, change your ways. Go organic and avoid this GMO giant who is in so much food. And if you won’t, at least be aware of what’s going on behind the scenes, and shine light upon the subject to your fellow man.

—Sophie Noyes, grade 6, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL

 

The Earth has always been able to provide and give the soil the nutrients it needs to successfully grow these crops. We don't need to ‘fix’ what isn’t even broken. We don’t need to add tons of enzymes to crops, just to make them grow faster. Everything that is needed to grow any food is here for us.

—Holly Yamagata, grade 11, Arcadia High School, CA

 

I love to ride my bike, play in the sprinklers with my friends on a hot summer afternoon, and have sleepovers! I do not ever want to get sick or have one of my friends get sick because of GMOs.

—Rose Miller, grade 7, Wildflower Open Classroom, Chico, CA

 

Imagine yourself allergic to fish. You love strawberries, so you eat them all the time. What happens when some strawberries are taken into a lab and genetically modified with fish genes so that they become frost resistant? No more strawberries for you!

—Triana Callam, grade 6, Nichols Middle School, Eranston, IL

 


Spring 2013 Middle School Winner Sharon Lin Spring 2013 Middle School Winner Sharon Lin
Sharon Lin is a student of Michael Ferraro at William R. Satz School in Holmdel, New Jersey. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Sharon's essay about how April Dávila inspired Sharon to adopt an organic vegan diet, and the increased energy and self-confidence she felt as a result.
Spring 2013 High School Winner Erica Young Spring 2013 High School Winner Erica Young
Erica Young is a student of Jorge Muñoz at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Erica's creative essay about how foods, like superheroes, should proudly display their logos to disclose their identities.
Spring 2013 University Winner Ryan Barry Spring 2013 University Winner Ryan Barry
Ryan Barry is a student of Professor Tom Hudspeth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Ryan's essay about his concerns surrounding the health effects of GMOs, and his recommendation to follow the European Union's lead and adopt the precautionary principle.
Spring 2013 Powerful Voice Winner Russell Chiang Spring 2013 Powerful Voice Winner Russell Chiang
Russell Chiang is a student of Angela Halpin at Carmel Valley Middle School in San Diego, California. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Russell's essay about how GMOs may harm one's body, and how monopolizing companies can harm the economy.
April Dávila's Response to Spring 2013 Essay Winners April Dávila's Response to Spring 2013 Essay Winners
April Dávila, a professional writer living and working in Los Angeles, and author of "A Month Without Monsanto," responds to essay winners of the Spring 2013 writing competition.
Spring 2013 Literary Gem Omar Charles Spring 2013 Literary Gem Omar Charles
Omar Charles is a student of Allison Stuart at General George A. McCall Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Omar's essay about his realization that when it comes to fighting products that may harm people and the environment, he has to become his own hero.
Spring 2013 Literary Gem Constantin Metzger Spring 2013 Literary Gem Constantin Metzger
Constantin Metzger is a student of Veronika Fröhlich at Pädagogische Hochschule University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Constantin's essay about feeling dependent on large corporations, and his efforts to ensure that his decisions remain his own.
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