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Class of 2020 Grads Earn Honorable Mention in New York Times’ Student Editorial Contest

Recent Cheltenham High School (CHS) graduates Maggie Morrison and Oren Schwartz earned an honorable mention in the New York Times’ 7th annual Student Editorial Contest with their co-written essay “The College Board Board Game: Monopoly.” Because editorial writing at newspapers is a collaborative process, students were encouraged to collaborate.nytimes

In less than the maximum-allowed 450 words, the pair presented an evidence-based persuasive essay the contest’s 30 judges wouldn’t see as “dry summaries of pros and cons.” In their essay, Morrison, who is taking a gap year following her graduation, and Schwartz focused on the financial stronghold College Board has on multiple areas of education, from Advanced Placement (AP) classes to college admissions. As students who took AP classes and had recently applied to colleges, Morrison and Schwartz, who will enroll at the University of Rochester in the fall, looked back and examined what role the College Board played in the system they have been a part of for 13 years and found the answer concerning.

“I want students writing for a real-world audience and I build that into my classroom,” said their teacher Kristin Keiser, chair of the CHS English Department. “The student editorial contest is one component of a larger argument unit in which students debate, host a town hall, and write on a topic about which they have a strong point of view. I remember when Oren and Maggie told me about their idea and can still see the excitement they had as they delved into the topic. Oren and Maggie have one of the best writing partnerships I've seen in all of my years teaching. They bring out the best in each other as writers and thinkers. Obviously I'm proud that they placed in the contest, but I'm even prouder of the thinkers and writers they are.”

The honorable mention recognition means the duo finished among the top 30 submitted high school essays. More than 7,300 entries from middle and high school students from around the world were submitted.