PUC’s Second Annual High School Essay Contest Winners Announced

By Ally Romanes on June 19, 2024

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The English department at Pacific Union College recently announced the winners of the second annual Emerging Voices of the Pacific Union. The English department received an influx of essays in which contestants were asked to write about a moment they were changed. 

“We received 90 essays, and judges were greatly impressed by the quality of submissions we received,” said Milbert Mariano, PUC dean of the school of arts, humanities, and professions. “Through a blind judging process, where the judges had no idea who or where the essay was from, it was a difficult decision to choose just three winning entries and several honorable mentions.”

After attentively reviewing all the essays, PUC chose the following winners:

  • 1st place was awarded to senior Colin Russ from PUC Preparatory School. Russ will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a $500 prize.
  • 2nd place was awarded to Natalie Tio, a junior from Pine Hills Adventist Academy. Tio will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a $300 prize.
  • 3rd place was awarded to Kara Wibberding, a junior from PUC Preparatory School. Wibberding will also receive a $1,000 scholarship with a $200 prize.
  • Other Emerging Voices finalists included students from Armona Union Academy, Pleasant Hill Adventist Adventist Academy, and Pine Hills Adventist Academy.

    The contest was open to students in grades 9-12 as of March 2024 who attended a Seventh-day Adventist academy or junior academy in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, or Utah. Essays could also be shared for potential future publication in the Pacific Union Recorder.

    “The English faculty at Pacific Union College hopes that the students engaging in this contest will be encouraged to continue writing and developing their craft,” said Linda Gill, PUC professor of English. “Perhaps their participation will encourage others to do the same. We greatly enjoyed reading the students' work and finding out about a moment when an epiphany literally changed the way they viewed themselves, others, and the world.”

    PUC’s English faculty extends its thanks and congratulations again to all the contestants and looks forward to next year’s essay contest.