"No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place." — Maya Angelou

"You can never plan the future by the past." —Edmund Burke

Congratulations to Our 2010 Essay Contest Winners

First Place: Emily Patterson, Brighton High School (essay)
Second Place: Pauline Schwartzman, Brighton High School (essay)
Second Place: Jane Zhu, Pittsford Sutherland High School (essay)
Third Place: Conor Brennan-Burke, Allendale Columbia School (essay)
Third Place: Maria McMullen, Our Lady of Mercy High School (essay)
Third Place: Joe Nania, Webster Thomas High School (essay)

Essay Contest 2009-2010

2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

The competition is open to all eleventh grade high school students in the greater Rochester area. We believe that participating in the contest helps develop critical thinking and writing skills. In particular, these skills are critical to success in your college application essay, as well as for the Regents English exam.

We awarded a first prize of $100 in cash, and two second place prizes of $50 each; we also designated an unlimited number of finalists, semi-finalists and honorable mentions, depending on the quality of submissions. In past years, up to 40% of the entrants have been so designated. In addition, if the first prize winner is accepted by and chooses to attend Cornell, the Club increases the award to a total of $1,000 during the winner's sophomore year. Similarly, if any second prize winner attends Cornell, that award is increased to $500.

The Cornell Club of Rochester offers the prize; winning or placing favorably in the essay contest in no way implies a favorable admission decision by any of Cornell's seven undergraduate colleges. But we also know from the past years of the competition that every essayist designated as a semi-finalist or higher has been accepted to at least one highly selective college!


One of the most important skills that you will continue to develop during the balance of your high school years and in college is the ability to thoughtfully evaluate opposing viewpoints — in other words, to think critically. This skill is important not only for students and scholars, but also for nearly every occupation you might choose, as well as for your personal mental growth and maturity.

Image Gallery

pix pix


Cornell Club of Rochester

© Copyright 2011-14 Cornell Club of Rochester.