Meet the Winners of the AAUW Eighth Grade Essay Contest

The Rochester branch of the American Association of University Women is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Eighth Grade Essay Contest about “A Woman of Significance to Me.”

Four students and two teachers pose for a photo with their awards in hand

Winners of the 2018 Eighth Grade Essay contest back row: Gemma Ugorowski, Mrs. Theresa Robinson, Mrs. Vidhi Ghosalkar; seated row: Alex Wang, Rahi Shah, Mia Nixon. Not pictured: Mena Nasiri and Audrey Newman.

First place winner Gemma Ugorowski from Van Hoosen Middle School chose Olympic and world champion swimmer. Gemma was inspired to craft a well thought out goal sheet and to have a positive attitude even on bad days by Katie’s words “before you can achieve you must believe in yourself.”

Second place winner Alex Wang from Van Hoosen Middle School chose his German teacher, Mrs. Theresa Robinson because she helped Alex to “see people for who they are, not what they look like.” Along with a new awareness of Germany and German culture Mrs. Robinson made Alex more aware of how he treated people who were different than him.

Third place winner Rahi Shah from Reuther Middle School chose Mrs. Vidhi Ghosalkar her teacher at Finesse Academy. Rahi attributes her abilities to speak more confidently in class, become more outgoing, and manage her time more efficiently with techniques she learned in Mrs. Ghosalkar’s classes.

The Kathy Watson Memorial Award winner for 2018 is Mena Nasiri a student at West Middle School. Mena realized that while looking for someone to be a role model and help her to become a better person “that person has been with me from the moment I was born.” Mena takes inspiration from her mother’s persistence, determination, and kindness and hopes that she will be able to pass these qualities on to her children.

Honorable Mention award went to Audrey Newman a student at Van Hoosen Middle School for her essay about her second grade teacher, Mrs. Gail Wallis. Audrey remembers how Mrs. Wallis “would urge us to read our stories aloud to the class” while Audrey never worried about being laughed at because “the atmosphere in her classroom was always welcoming.”

Honorable Mention award went to Mia Nixon a student at Van Hoosen Middle School for her essay about her great aunt Lillian. After spending three years during World War II in a camp in Siberia Lillian’s family was sent a camp in Persia, from there to Mexico and finally the United States. Mia says she learned that you can adapt to difficult situations and the importance of family and helping others.

Thank you to Jessica Remington from the Auburn Hills Public Library and Allison Sartwell from the Rochester Hills Public library for sharing your stories about a significant woman in your life.

The eighth-grade essay contest about “A Woman of Significance to Me” is sponsored annually by the Rochester branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Students living in the Rochester and Avondale school districts are invited to submit their essays. Additional sponsors of the contest are the Rochester Hills Public Library and the Auburn Hills Public Library.

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