At the end of 2020, we held a writing competition for all of our students attending Writing Classes here at Kent Prep. Congratulations to Michelle Hyun, Ella Yarden, and Anthony Alleca for their excellent contributions. You can find the rules for the competition as well as our contestants’ submissions below:
Kent Prep 2020 Writing Competition
This year was certainly a difficult, tumultuous time for everyone. One productive way to handle our frustrations, angers, and stresses is channeling it in a creative fashion. We at Kent Prep invite you to submit a piece of writing about your reflections about this year to us by Saturday, December 26th.
Essays that share something substantial about you, such as what you have learned, gained, lost, or felt during this year, will be published on our website. Our favorite essay’s writer will also receive a $50 Gift Certificate to Cafe Bench, which is located next to Kent Prep. The winner will be announced, and select pieces will be published, on our website by January 1st, 2021.
We encourage you to be creative in the way you approach your writing, but please follow these guidelines:
- The title of your piece must be: “My Life in 2020.” You may interpret that in any way you see fit.
- Your writing may come in any form, whether it be a poem, song, narrative, or memoir entry. However, please keep the word limit under 650 words.
- Be insightful, and make sure to keep things personal, but only share things that you are comfortable with sharing.
- Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited and result in immediate disqualification.
Does my name start with a M or J?
Trying to keep track of night and day,
Strips of memories diving deep,
Time screaming at me,
“This is the only time to reach your destiny”
Screens only showing four numbers, 1,1,5,9
Ending up with 1 minute to hand it in time,
Asking, what have I done?
I remember now,
I brought myself down.
Chaotic discussions with who are now strangers.
I was never aware of the dangers.
Feeling numb, but feeling heat,
It wasn’t hatred,
It was regret, that my love was wasted.
Problems are obstacles,
Obstacles were hills,
And those hills were steep hills,
That I quite couldn’t reach with my skill.
When meeting dreams,
They are filled with silent screams.
Brain filled with fog
It kills me
With thoughts that are unnecessary.
Every morning at 9,
A human speaks so fine,
Would be about trump raging,
Or “it’s raining coronavirus, please stay inside.”
Or multiple cases of homicide and suicide.
Captured by the fear of Earth,
There will still be joy giving birth.
Until we are all free from our own cage,
We will continue to face our own barricade.
Let’s start at the beginning. In January 2020 I was in fifth grade and still going to in person school. I enjoyed hanging out and playing with my friends. We had just started changing classrooms for different subjects to prepare us for middle school.
In February, I celebrated my eleventh birthday with friends at an escape room party. I kept hearing things about the coronavirus, but I wasn’t too worried about it. One of my good friends started bringing handwritten charts to school showing all the new coronavirus cases for a bunch of different countries. My family’s trip to Taiwan was cancelled. New York seemed like a safer place to be.
In March, the world turned upside down and inside out. Schools turned remote. I didn’t know when I would see my friends again. We started wearing masks everywhere. I wasn’t allowed to visit my grandparents anymore. I wasn’t too upset about it though. I was adjusting to my new life.
During April, I was getting the hang of learning virtually. I didn’t see any of my friends. We barely went outside. Everything was closing. The pandemic had made its way to New York and was coming down hard. I spent a lot of time reading and playing video games. One of my friends and I started calling each other every evening so we could play games together.
In May, I was getting bored of online school. We started to go out a little more often. Occasionally I would walk to my grandparents’ house to say hello, though these get-togethers lasted only two minutes. The coronavirus was now called COVID-19. My school kept reassuring us fifth graders that we would have a graduation and a dance in the fall. I believed them. Things weren’t that bad, after all.
June was the last month of school. The gravity of the situation had sunk in. I had scrolled through the New York Times and had seen a COVID-19 chart. I was shocked at the number of cases and deaths in March and April. We were plateauing now, but I was still scared. I knew now that I wasn’t going back to my elementary school for a while.
In July, summer camp was cancelled. It felt like part of the summer was missing. I started FaceTiming and Skyping my friends more often, so I wasn’t lonely. I went to the park with my family daily. I attended a virtual prep course for the first time. I didn’t know what to think about anything.
In August my summer camp said that they would open their pool every Tuesday evening for an hour so a few kids could go swim. I saw my best friend there, since we both attend the same summer camp. These swimming nights turned into one of my favorite nights of the week.
In September I started sixth grade. Even though blending learning had been delayed, I was still excited to go to school. I had missed going to school a lot. I met my teachers virtually and adapted to middle school.
When October came, we finally started blended learning. I made friends with the other seven in-person classmates. We chatted during lunch in the classroom. Since our lunch lady was nice, we were allowed to play video games together. We were all having fun. I continued with prep school on the weekends.
In late November, schools went remote again. I was devastated. I felt like I was losing control. Still, I managed to have some fun. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my extended family on a Zoom call. The meal was homemade except for the turkey cold cuts.
In December I felt like I had regained some control over life. I was playing around more. I heard that a vaccine was on the way. That gave me hope. In these uncertain times, hope was all that I needed to keep going.
On March 20th, my school announced that for the following two weeks, there will be no school due to a global pandemic. I ran home immediately and told my parents the news. They didn’t happen to be as enthusiastic as I was but they were happy for me. My friends and I had planned to play video games together all throughout this “vacation” and things were looking good so far. Now almost a year into this “vacation” I would have never expected things to turn out the way they did.
I never thought I would ever get bored of playing video games with my friends until quarantine hit. I could only play video games for so long, I thought, but I still did. Everyday. As the days passed, they became more repetitive and stale. Soon enough, it’s already May and I realized how much I took life before Covid for granted. I missed being able to see my friends regularly and for the first time in my life, I could confidently say that I missed going to school. Who would have thought it took a global pandemic to turn me into a crazy person!
Covid-19 has now changed the way I view a lot of things in my life. It has made me appreciate a lot of the things that were hidden to me before. It allowed me to understand the value of being able to physically be with someone without having to stress about spreading disease.