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Grade 8 Student Honored in 2021 New York Times Coming of Age Contest


Grade 8 humanities teacher Marlena Elmore encouraged her students to respond to the prompt during the fall, observing: “The theme in humanities is coming of age. Every year, I offer students, as an extension activity, the opportunity to submit a piece to the New York Times. This work starts early in the school year and helps with setting the stage for the first set of literature relating to concepts of coming of age.” Our students took this assignment and ran with it. Charlie’s artwork depicts the forming and molding described in the accompanying submission:


We all, as teens, struggle in our own ways. Having a social life while staying safe; doing schoolwork; and managing stress, how we look and social media. There is so much that we worry about without even being aware. Every part of our life has a grip on us, and many times we can’t control it. It is a constant debate between being unique (usually the harder option) and conforming. I have to admit, I’ve done the latter.

This painting represents that it is okay to acknowledge the things that control you. It’s not your fault that society manipulates its teens. 

We also want to recognize another Grade 8 student, Grace, for her submission of a video for this prompt, which you can view here. We congratulate all of our students who submitted their amazing pieces and their reflections during this challenging time in their lives. 

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