By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Two Greater Cincinnati students are honorable-mention winners in Kaplan/Newsweek's "My Turn" contest, which drew 5,000 entries from high school students nationwide.
Milford High School graduate Molly Dugan, 18, now a freshman at Ohio University, wrote an emotional remembrance of her friend, Michael Pangallo, 15, who died in his sleep of a rare heart condition during an overnight at a friend's house in June 2001.
Julie Morris, an 18-year-old Sycamore High School graduate and Ohio State University freshman, wrote about excesses that tax the environment, while recognizing her own shortcomings as a steward of the environment.
Kaplan Inc., a provider of educational and career services, and Newsweek recently announced the winners of the contest, which seeks out and recognizes talented young writers.
Dugan, who is majoring in journalism, wrote her essay, "Remembering Mike," for a high school psychology class. Students were asked to write about something that had affected their lives. The Loveland youth thought it was appropriate to write about her classmate's death.
"It made a huge impact, especially on that summer and the way I look at things," Dugan said.
Morris, of Blue Ash, wrote her essay, "Life as a Young Environmentalist," for a composition class.
"It's basically a commentary on environmentalism today, but I used my own life as an example, because I consider myself an environmentalist ... yet I still do things like driving my car to school or taking 20- 25-minute showers - things that don't help the environment," said Morris, who plans to major in special education or English.
The winning essays, along with those of 10 students given honorable mentions, are published on the Newsweek Education Program Web site, www.newsweekeducation.com.
"The incredible number of essays this year is a testament to the fact that today's youth want to be a part of the national conversation," said Richard Smith, editor-in-chief of Newsweek. "We were impressed to see such high-caliber writing from our students and learn about the subjects that they consider important."
Judges for the competition included:
Anna Quindlen, author and Newsweek columnist; Carol Weston, author and Girls' Life columnist; Jay Mathews, Washington Post education writer and columnist; Pamela Hamer, Newsweek senior editorial assistant; and Peter Johnson, senior associate director of admissions at Columbia University.
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