"Coral" Essay Takes First in Inaugural Contest

Header Image

"Coral" Essay Takes First in Inaugural Contest

Seventh grader Gus Larsen was announced as the winner of Foote's inaugural Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest. According to the contest judges, Gus' essay, "Coral," was selected based on its creativity, voice, use of language, organization, content accuracy, and use of resources. 

The Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest is an annual opportunity for students (grades 6–12 in the U.S. and Canada). This year students were asked to respond to the following prompt (in an essay of 500–1,000 words): “What scientific issue would you take on if given the chance and why?”

In his essay, "Coral," Gus focuses on one of this planet's most vulnerable natural resources, detailing its significance, the dangers it faces, and ways that people can take action to effect change.

"Coral isn’t just a pretty landscape to look at, it is an essential part of millions of creatures' lives that depend on it," wrote Gus. "If humans can’t make a difference soon, life in the oceans can never be the same again, existing as a barren, colorless seafloor with no chance at sustaining life. ... Small changes in your life that you may choose to act on will affect the ocean quality to extreme levels."

In addition to the international competition, this year Foote hosted its own, featuring essay submissions followed by two rounds of judging. Three different judges evaluated the 11 submissions from Foote's Middle Schoolers; all essays were evaluated blindly. 

Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman was a scientist who is considered the "father of modern vaccines," according to a website dedicated to Hilleman and the contest.

"Virologist Maurice R. Hilleman dreamed of a world free from the ravages of infectious diseases. Through his contributions to over half of the routine vaccines that young children receive today, his work put us closer to that goal than we had ever been before," according to the website.

To read "Coral" in its entirety, head over to our Foote School Blog page.

Get Social!

    Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.