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Inspiring Success: Elsa, Grade 10, Awarded in Prestigious John Locke Essay Competition

Inspiring Success: Elsa, Grade 10, Awarded in Prestigious John Locke Essay Competition
Tanya Olander

As one of 25 students selected among 19,000 submissions from around the globe, and as the only student from Vietnam, SSIS student Elsa, Grade 10, recently took home third prize for her history essay in the prestigious John Locke Essay Competition, Elsa’s first essay competition ever.

Conducted by the John Locke Institute, the essay competition is a selective writing competition in humanities and social sciences, specifically in the subjects of Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology, and Law. The competition is judged by a panel of senior academics drawn from leading universities including Oxford and Princeton.

Elsa, who has a special interest in history, decided to take on this challenge, despite never entering an essay competition before. “I didn’t really expect much,” Elsa shared. “I just wanted to take this opportunity to write about history,” says Elsa, who not only was awarded but received a personal invitation to speak at the Gala Dinner and Conference from the Academic Dean of the John Locke Institute.

Noting that her interest in history was kindled in her Grade 9 “Foundations of the Modern World” class, a course designed for students to explore the origins, developments, and consequences of major global historical events of the last 250 years, Elsa tackled a thought-provoking prompt in her essay: to explore whether or not Britain is richer or poorer today as a nation due to British Colonialism. She focused her essay on three industries: education, financial services, and manufacturing, and says that although she had a fairly clear opinion entering into her research, she learned new things along the way. 

“Delving into academic writing in the social sciences and humanities can help students develop their writing skills,” says High School Counselor Deviyani Pathak.

We commend Elsa on her newfound passion and for stepping out of her comfort zone - let her story be an inspiration to us all.

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