The ceremony kicked off with a spectacular red carpet welcome for the students, who were accompanied by their family members and their adult sponsors who guided them throughout the contest.
As the students entered the Museum, former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford rang the NLM Liberty Bell to start the ceremony. Senator Wofford was an original Selma marcher and adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr.
NLM CEO Gwen Borowsky then welcomed the Girard College Cavalier Band & Choir (directed by former Teacher as Hero winner, Paul Eaton). The students set an inspirational tone for the day with their moving rendition of “Glory.” Next, guests watched special remarks from SELMA actor David Oyelowo and director AvaDuVernay.
The ceremony was hosted by KYW news reporter Cherri Gregg, who welcomed Senator Wofford to speak about his experience in Selma, as well as his work with Dr. King. Senator Wofford went on to tell the students what an inspiration they are: “Mr. Armas, Mr. Lehmann, and Miss White-Thorpe, you have used your voices to speak about individual freedom and self-determination in a way that would have made Dr. King proud.”
Signet Classics Announces Winners of the 19th Annual Scholarship Essay Contest
New York, NY, July 2015—Signet Classics, the imprint of New American Library devoted for more than 40 years to publishing inexpensive paperback editions of more than 300 of the world’s greatest literary works, has announced the winners of the fifteenth annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest. The Grand Prize Winners, listed in alphabetical order, are:
- Hudson Barnes Cleveland
Hudson Barnes Cleveland is in the 12th grade at All Saints’ Episcopal School, Fort Worth, TX.
- Maggie Foster
Maggie Foster is in the 11th Grade at North Oldham High School, Goshen, KY.
- Kory Huskonen
Kory Huskonen is in the 11th Grade at Buckeye High School, Medina, OH.
- Lucille Riddell
Lucille Riddell is an 11th grade homeschooled student from Orem, UT.
- Kevin H. Zheng
Kevin H. Zheng is in the 12th grade at Parkway South High School, Manchester, MO.
Read the winning essays from previous years »
Essay Subject: Pygmalion and My Fair Lady by George Bernard Shaw
Topics for the essay contest:
- Henry Higgins, the leading man in Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, may be considered an anti-hero, a character who acts in ways contrary to conventional literary representations of heroism. What qualities mark him as an anti-hero?
- When Eliza threatens to leave Henry in Act 5 of Pygmalion, Henry defends himself, saying, “I care for life, for humanity….What more can you or anyone ask?” In light of Henry’s behavior throughout the play, does this self-justification seem satisfactory? What are the pitfalls of caring for life and humanity in general, as Henry does, but neglecting to consider the needs of individuals?
- At the end of Pygmalion, Henry is amused when Eliza goes off to marry Freddy. In My Fair Lady, Eliza returns in a scene that suggests she and Henry have a future together. Given your understanding of Eliza and Henry, do you think one ending fits better than the other? Would it work to switch conclusions—end Pygmalion with Eliza’s return and My Fair Lady with Eliza’s departure? Why or why not? What changes did Lerner make to Shaw’s play to make his new ending plausible?
- At the beginning of Pygmalion, we are introduced to Alfred Doolittle, Eliza’s father. Alfred reappears—surprisingly, almost as an afterthought—toward the conclusion of the play. In My Fair Lady, by contrast, his role is greatly expanded in additional scenes and songs. How do these additions affect your view of Alfred’s character and his life philosophy?
- Both plays poke fun at the middle class, most notably its emphasis on proper speech and appearance. In what other ways does the play satirize middle class values? What middle class preoccupations and interests are undermined? Do you believe members of the middle class today share attitudes illustrated in the plays? Use examples to illustrate your point.
- In Act 5 of Pygmalion and almost verbatim in Act 2, Scene 5 of My Fair Lady, Eliza claims Col. Pickering showed her how to act like a lady by behaving well himself: “I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins because he always treats me like a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.” Do you agree with Eliza’s assessment of Col. Pickering as a true gentleman? Illustrate your answer with references to his behavior throughout the play.
The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest was established in 1996 to encourage greater interest in reading among high school students by offering tangible assistance to the winning students and their schools. It is open to qualifying high school juniors and seniors in the United States. “We are proud to be involved in a unique scholarship program that encourages student appreciation for the great classics,” notes Craig Burke, Vice President and Executive Director of Publicity for New American Library.
Entrants are required to submit a 2-3 page double-spaced, typewritten essay, answering one of four questions relating to the designated competition book. Essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes in the book; clear, concise writing; and logical, well-supported arguments. Judges also consider style, content, grammar and originality. Five Grand Prize Winners are each awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Signet Classics Library for their school (or local public library, in the case of home-schooled students), valued at $1,600.
The designated title for 2013-2014 was Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel. The book selected for the 2015-2016 Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
For more information on the 2015-2016 contest, click here.
Entry forms and full information about the contest will also be available in high school English departments, or by writing to:
Penguin Publishing Group
Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
New American Library is a division of Penguin Publishing Group, and includes the imprints Signet, Signet Classics, Onyx, Roc and NAL Trade Paperbacks.