Montgomery Catholic 8th Grader Earns Honorable Mention in Worldwide New York Times Essay Contest for Teenagers

Montgomery Catholic 8th grader, Mary Eden Rall, earned an honorable mention in the New York Times’s “‘How To’ Informational Writing Contest for Teenagers!”

Essays were submitted between January 10 – February 14 from over 2,200 middle and high school students worldwide. The contest aimed to engage teenagers in creative writing by sharing their favorite “how-to’s.” The contest saw topics across the board ranging from “How to Do the Worm” to “How to Make Fear Your Friend” to “How to Become Friends With a Wild Bird.” Mary Eden’s honorable mention topic was “How to Be When Meeting New People.”

Mary Eden’s essay focused on becoming a likable person without compromising your true self, sacrificing boundaries, or “trying” to be likable. “Studies show that people who are real and vulnerable are easier to meet because they are likable,” Rall said.

“Being vulnerable helps build trust because vulnerability is relatable… Likability is not determined by competency. Showing vulnerability and owning mistakes helps develop trust and makes people want to come back,” Rall continued.

The contest resulted in 11 winners, 18 runners-up, and 33 honorable mentions. Mary Eden shared this honor with international students from various states throughout America and countries worldwide, including Seoul, London, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Belgium, Singapore, and more!

You can read Mary Eden’s full essay here!

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