University hosts 8th annual Common Reading contest

Chantal Henry/Contributing Writer

Three freshman students won cash prizes for winning an essay contest in their first year experience classes at the Biscayne Bay Campus.

On Friday, March 23, the 8th annual award reception for the Common Reading contest was held at BBC.

Each semester, three competitors are selected from a handful of students who enter the library contest. This year’s common reading book was “The Promise of a Pencil,” a novel which sheds light on a man’s story on building a nonprofit organization from scratch for third world countries to have education, inspiring others to make their dreams into a reality.

The annual Common Reading Contest is a program that is well established and widely respected. It usually opens from Summer B for freshman who start college early, until February of the spring semester. Valerie Morgan, director of undergraduate education at BBC, along with Douglas Hasty, First Year Experience librarian at BBC, choose a novel which meets their standards and is challenging enough for freshman.

This year’s novel, according to Hasty, is a real world story from a young man’s perspective, who has a better way of helping others relate and finding their purpose.

Freshman students in their SLS courses were given the opportunity to enter the contest by reading the novel “The Promise of a Pencil” and explain how the reading affected them as individuals. Out of the 90 essay applicants, three students were chosen: Kathryn Suner in first place, Diego Lopez in second place and Jannia Tenorio in third.

Music major and first place Common Reading book winner, Kathryn Suner said that she was in shock that she won the competition, and that her writing background in high school definitely helped.

Suner thinks her piece stood out because she linked her career path to the authors journey and general message.

Each student who placed was awarded with certificates and a cash prize. Third place was awarded $100, second place $150 and first place was awarded $200. The essays entailed their reaction to the novel and how much of an impact the reading had on their perspective.

Lopez, who is majoring in international business, said that because the book was fun to read, it was much easier to write about.

“It was an interesting read, which was motivational and inspirational. [Seeing that I really enjoyed the book], I just said why not join the contest,” Lopez said. “Once I placed, I was pretty shocked and it was the last thing I expected, it brings a feeling of personal satisfaction.”

Tenorio, who is double-majoring in in political science and international relations, was pretty shocked to find out that she placed. Tenorio enjoys writing and takes this experience as an achievement to always look back to and be proud of.

Any freshman looking forward to joining the next contest are able to do so for the summer term. The new novel for the next contest, according to Hasty, should be in very soon, possibly in the following month.


Feature Image by Chantal Henry/PantherNOW.


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