On May 9th, Bonnie McCalley, Essay Coordinator for The Williams Institute, presented Cordero Salazar, a junior at Florence High School, with a $500 scholarship for his winning essay on this year’s topic, “The World Around me and My Personal Responsibility.” Salazar was one of 30 winners representing schools as far away as New York and Korea.
“The topic was about environmental responsibility, and Cordero’s essay focused on the things that each individual can do to make a difference,” stated McCalley. “Many other writers talked about corporate responsibility and government controls, but we were really looking for an understanding of individual accountability.”
McCalley went on to explain, “The essays are judged in a blind evaluation, so we don’t know who wrote what until we have our finalists selected. Then we interview the top three finalists for each grade, and that conversation is even more important than the essay. It’s neat to see the students’ passion; what we’re really looking for is character, and Cordero impressed us.”
The Williams Institute also provides an honorarium of $100 to the teacher of the winning student and to the school’s essay coordinator.