Fourth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest results

Author: Carol Schaal

An enriching summer job can also teach some unexpected, unwanted lessons, including the fact that life can change almost instantly. Rachel Plassmeyer Bené ’10 reflects on the harrowing experience she underwent on a trip to Guatemala in her “Just one second in the highlands” essay, which won first place in this magazine’s fourth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest.

Editors spent a day reading the entries in the 2016 contest and selected the winners after follow-up readings and discussions. The names of the authors were not attached to the essays and were not revealed until after the winning entries were chosen.

Bené’s first-place essay and Michael Benz and Ben Moeller’s second-place essays appear in this issue’s CrossCurrents section. The three honorable-mention essays will appear at in the coming weeks.

The winning 2016 contest essays and their authors:

First place ($500 prize):

“Just one second in the highlands,” Rachel Plassmeyer Bené ’10

Second places ($250 prize):

“Silhouette in the headlights,” Michael Benz ’09

“The strongest handshake,” Ben Moeller ’13

Honorable mentions ($50 prize):

“Navel gazing,” Reggie Henke ’12

“Settling for your dream job,” Josh Bradley ’12

“The arc of dreams,” Alyssa Morones ’12