PHS student wins runner up in New York Times contest

By: Cynthia Gonzalez and Paige Davis of The Lion's Roar Newspaper
New York Times winner Dari DeMille

Dari DeMille, a senior at PHS, won runner up in the New York Times 2016 Summer Reading Contest Week 10. Ms. Griffin had asked all her AP Language students to submit an entry into the contest. She wanted her students “to write for an authentic audience on a topic they find interesting.” 

The New York Times began their Summer Reading Challenge in 2010, with the intent to get more students involved in news and world affairs.  Students ages 13-19 are invited to participate.  Contestants choose any article, essay, video, interactive, or photograph published in the Times within that year and write an opinion essay on that piece.  Dari chose an article by Alexander Fury, entitled “When Fashion Becomes a Form of Protest.”

As to why Dari picked the article that she did, she explained, “The concept of wearing something as a form of protest, like in the way that they addressed it was really cool. And how it was about the French Revolution.”

Being a runner up in a competition of 8,000 essays is no easy feat. After her victory dance about the big win, Dari proceeded to say “I was excited about it, it was cool at first. I was like ‘Oh. That’s cool.’ And then I was like ‘WOAH. That’s cool!’.

An excerpt from Dari Demille’s article:

The ones with their heads down. The ones with the same backpacks every one of their friends has. The ones smiling at jokes they don’t think are funny. Too many of us are those. What the world needs from its youth are the other ones. The ones who start something and refine our world. The ones who make a stand. The ones who have a vision and act. Like the Incroyables of the French Revolution and the hippies of the 1960s.

Reflecting on her own paper, she admitted that she thought it was awful. After editing it over and over again with the help of Ms. Griffin, she just wasn’t sure if her article was good enough. But despite her doubts, she submitted it anyway and proved herself wrong. With hard work and determination anything is possible.

Ms. Griffin was very impressed with Dari’s work.  “My heart skipped a beat when I saw Dari’s name on the list of winners.  This is a tough competition. Dari’s submission was excellent, and she represented Payson High well.”



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