ETHS sophomore receives honorable mention in The New York Times essay contest

Zachary Bahar, News Editor

Every year, The New York Times runs a personal narrative essay contest for high school students; this year, an Evanston sophomore—Madeline Gingold—received an honorable mention with her essay “The Stupid Seven.”

“[‘The Stupid Seven’] was a story about me piercing a bunch of girls’ ears at camp and getting in a ton of trouble, but then being proud of myself for doing what I did,” Gingold said. “I just thought it would be [an] amusing [story to tell].”

English teacher Erica Thompson originally assigned the essay to Gingold as part of a narrative unit.  However, her story uses a plethora of metaphors and images that reach beyond the classroom.

“It was a school assignment,” Gingold said. “Generally, I like to write about deeper and personal topics, but I decided to write something funny. I remembered the story and everything just kind of came out [of that].”

The contest, announced in September, garnered over 8000 responses, and of those, 35 finalists were selected and then whittled down to eight winners, eight runner-ups and 19 honorable mentions. To be held in such high esteem is a powerful statement.

“I’ve always been interested in writing stories [and] receiving an honorable mention out of so many entries felt incredibly rewarding,” Gingold said. 

While this event is a powerful moment, contests are far from the only reason that Gingold writes. 

“Writing is kind of a way to get my emotions out, and bringing up old stories that I didn’t really remember is really exciting and fun,” Gingold said. 

A copy of “The Stupid Seven” can be found here.