Winner of 2016 Meringoff Secondary School Essay Contest

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Dear ALSCW members and friends:

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Meringoff Secondary School Essay Contest.  The Meringoff Secondary School prizes are given annually for analytical essays by students in grades 9 through 12 dealing with works of recognized literary merit. Papers may examine style, characterization, rhetorical technique, or structure, and may be about individual poems, short stories, novels, plays, or essays. Papers may also compare two carefully selected works. This year’s awards include a prize of $1,500 for the winning entry and publication in the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers online journal, Literary Matters. The runners up each receive a prize of $250.

Congratulations to this year’s winners for their outstanding work!


Nicole Woch

WINNER: Nicole Woch (Stanford Online High School) for “Melville, Anti-Transcendentalism, & Democracy: Moby Dick as a Cautionary Tale.”

Nicole is from Chicago, Illinois, and is currently a freshman at Colorado College, where she plans to study English. At Colorado College she hopes to get involved with the Outdoor Recreation Committee and become a writing tutor at the Writing Center, where she looks forward to building on her writing skills and helping others to do the same.

Nicole’s sponsor is Dr. Margaret Lamont of Stanford Online High School.

Margaret O. Comer
Margaret O. Comer

RUNNER-UP: Margaret O. Comer (Ridgefield High School) for “Fighting the Inevitable,” an essay on Seamus Heaney’s “Blackberry Picking.”

Margaret recently graduated Ridgefield High School and is currently attending Johns Hopkins University, where she is pursuing a major in neuroscience with a minor in English. She hopes to eventually attend medical school, specializing in infectious disease.

Margaret’s sponsors are Ms. Kimberly Benson and Mr. Kevin Higgins Ridgefield High School in Connecticut.

Isabel Griffith-Gorgati
Isabel Griffith-Gorgati

RUNNER-UP: Isabel Griffith-Gorgati (The Winsor School) for “The Bluest Eye: A False Innocence.”

Isabel Griffith-Gorgati is a senior at the Winsor School, where she has most enjoyed taking classes in English, History, and Spanish. As a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States and the head of Winsor’s Latina Affinity group, she is especially fascinated by the power of intellectual dialogue that crosses the boundaries of languages and cultures. This combination of interests will likely lead her to study Comparative Literature in college. She also hopes to continue to be involved in theater.

Her sponsor is Ms. Piya Kashyap of The Winsor School in Boston