Junior Gia Shin Wins “Superior Writing Award” in NCTE Awards

Junior Gia Shin Wins Superior Writing Award in NCTE Awards

Jacqueline Kim, Managing Editor

The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Achievement Awards in Writing—created with the intent of recognizing the best student writing of high school juniors in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American schools abroad—announced last month the 2022 prize winners. Among them was Gia Shin (’23), who received a Superior Writing Award.

Students nominated by their teachers must make two submissions in order to be considered for the award. Students must first submit writing in response to a themed prompt released by the Achievement Awards Advisory Committee. Students must then submit work categorized as “best writing,” which may be a sample of a work that is considered to be one student’s best work. This work may be in any genre and must exemplify the student’s writing capabilities and individual voice. Both parts of the submission are then sent to be judged at a national level, and the winning entries receive the “Superior Writing Award,” while all other participants are guaranteed a certificate of nomination recognition. According to the NCTE website, this year, out of 266 juniors nominated, 79 were awarded Certificates for Superior Writing.

Shin submitted a 10-page portfolio. This year’s themed writing prompt was based on the quote, “I hope or I could not live,” from The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. Shin decided to write about painting a hopeful future. “I talked about my personal struggles with mental health and the struggles of the people closest to me,” Shin said. “I think what drew the judges into my writing was how vocal and vulnerable I was. It was one of the first times I was really aggressive in my writing without much filtering and I felt a lot of catharsis in the moment of writing it. Even if I hadn’t won the Superior Award, I still would’ve been proud of myself for submitting such a raw piece.” Moreover, she referenced her personal observations on topics of mental health and individual navigation of self-coping. “I talked about a hopeful future where the younger generation would have the vocabulary to correctly identify, label, and deal with their emotions in healthy ways,” she said. “I’ve noticed that the root of mismanaging mental health usually stems from not knowing how to deal with emotions.”

As for her “best writing” piece of the portfolio, Shin submitted a wide array of genres, from dainty poems to explosive multimedia art collages. “I realized that I write across many different forms, and I like to combine genres too,” Shin said. “For example, one of my multimedia pieces is a prose piece that incorporates a screenshot of a WebOutlook email and ripped up origami paper.” The NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing allowed her to showcase her voice in its pure form, unbounded by genre or form.