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SMS Duo Top Ten in Essay Contest

posted Jan 17, 2019, 7:45 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 4:39 AM ]
Collin O'Donnell and Hannah Leach
Two Seneca Middle School 8th graders have placed within top ten in the 9th annual Atlantic Institute Art & Essay Contest for South Carolina. Collin O’Donnell and Hannah Leach both penned their essays back in November of 2018 addressing the topic: “Building Community: The Role of Teens.” They focused on the positive leadership and innovation teens can offer their community and highlighted the achievements of teens from around the world like Easton La Chappelle, Mary Grace Henry, and Malala Yousafzai. The contest, hosted by Columbia-based nonprofit, Atlantic Institute, exists as a way to promote mutual respect and “facilitate dialogue and bridge cultures around the globe.” O’Donnell and Leach will head to historic Allen University in early March to attend the annual awards ceremony where they will learn their rank within the top ten and the prizes they will receive. Both O’Donnell and Leach stand to win a variety of cash prizes as well as the grand prize, a seven day trip to Peru.

When asked about her accomplishment, Leach said, “I would like to thank the Atlantic Institute for giving me the amazing opportunity to become more aware of how teenagers can be involved in the community through this essay contest.” O’Donnell followed by saying, “I just want to thank my writing teacher, Mrs. Necessary, for giving me a way to win this honor. I didn't expect to win an award, and I am very pleasantly surprised.” Teacher Stephanie Necessary encourages her students to participate in a variety of essay contests to gain confidence in their writing skills while also giving them a number of different forums to express themselves. According to Necessary, “The Atlantic Institute Art and Essay Contest challenges teens to think about the world’s problems that their generation will be faced with solving. I believe the exposure to important issues and real-world problem solving practice is invaluable. I am so thankful for organizations like the Atlantic Institute who not only challenge students intellectually and artistically, but choose to invest in their success.”