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Student essay contest offers $500 cash prize

Photo by Isabel Esther

A Chemeketa Reads Committee is ready and rearing to go for this year’s student essays on two prompts based on themes from the book Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by entertainer Trevor Noah. The committee is made up of faculty volunteers from all throughout the college with relevant backgrounds who chose the book and the prompts.

“…Volunteers from that committee also offered to work on the prompt,” stated Michele Burke, a reference librarian at Chemeketa’s own student library. “ And we wanted a prompt that would work with Born a Crime, the book, and the theme. But we wanted it to be broad enough that people who hadn’t read the book could also participate.”

The two prompts were constructed by two writing instructors, who according to Burke, “…just have more insight into the kind of prompt that will solicit some good writing…”

The two prompts are, “Illustrate a time when humor, imagination or resourcefulness allowed you to overcome hardship” and “Describe your fiercest advocate and how that individual supported you through troubled times.”

“I can’t really anticipate what these will bring in. I’m thinking- because there’s two prompts; one has to do with humor, or the way that has maybe helped someone overcome a hardship- I anticipate those will be like, very unique and then the other one is about somebody who has been supportive, who’s been sort of your, like a backer. Your advocate or your ally. I mean we’ll probably read about parents and probably friends who stepped in,” Burke said.

The committee will be focusing on the technicalities of writing rather than on the stories, and will be using a rubric to score each story to provide an even field for all the different stories and subjects that may be presented.
The deadline for any and all student essay submissions is April 30, 2019 through an online form on the essay page here.

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