Student Essay Contest
Student Essay Contest
Shepherd students are encouraged to enter the Common Reading Student Essay Contest. Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and are being accepted now through April 1, 2020. The winner will receive $350 toward Shepherd tuition and/or textbooks. Entries are judged by a panel of three faculty members using a rubric developed by the English Department. Essays written for a specific class or other assignment are acceptable.
Choose one of the following prompts related to “Concussion” to write about. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your essay meets submission requirements.
1) Jeanne Marie Laskas writes that when Dr. Bennet Omalu realizes what he has discovered, that football players were suffering from CTE, “he thought everyone would welcome a discovery as important as this” (140). As the book illustrates, however, though the science seems incontrovertible, the issues surrounding the NFL and head injuries remain controversial, complex, and heated. Write an essay in which you make an argument about what this book adds to the debate about concussions and the NFL. What did the book help you understand that might help our culture come to some greater understanding of this complicated issue?
2) Omalu is, in the words of his friends and colleagues, an “oddball” (193). Laskas adds, “Bennet can only be Bennet!” (209); he isn’t your stereotypical hero, but perhaps that is what makes him so memorable. Write an essay in which you outline the characteristics that make Omalu compelling and discuss how his uniqueness contributed to his challenges and successes.
3) Most college students won’t face the kinds of challenges Dr. Omalu faces, yet careful readers can certainly benefit from thinking about his example. Write an essay in which you reflect on the lessons from Omalu’s story and journey that could benefit a college student. In other words, when thinking about their own path to success in college and beyond, what can college students learn from this book?
Guidelines – A winning entry has the following elements:
- A clear and coherent thesis statement/main idea that appears in the first paragraph and clearly relates to the prompt you have selected. A reader should be able to easily identify this sentence and say “THIS is what this paper is about.” A good response is not a summary of the text.
- Textual evidence to support each point and move your argument along. Every claim you make should be supported with evidence from the text. Make sure this evidence is integrated into your overall argument. Do not simply drop in quotations without any analysis (explaining how they advance your main idea). Avoid quoting extremely long passages, especially without analysis.
- A coherent, clear structure. Each paragraph should:
- Move the argument or main idea along.
- Have a strong topic sentence.
- Move to the next section with clear transitions.
- A conclusion. Your piece should have a conclusion that wraps things up, even if all you do is raise more questions.
- Proper formatting. This includes:
- A title for your essay.
- Typed; double-spaced; in a reasonable font (Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 11 pt.); one-inch margins all around; your name, and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page; page numbers should appear on the upper right-hand corner of each page.
- No spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Appropriate length: About 600-750 words (at least 2 full pages). No maximum length limitation.