Student’s essay earn $500 prize

When senior Pranav Kota was a sophomore, he wrote a paper for honors English that paid off with more than just a good grade from English teacher Michelle Rathe. He entered it in the Glory of the Senses contest for the Paul Engle prize. The prize features a $25,000 cash reward if given first place, and the runners-up receive a $500 cash scholarship from the UNESCO City of Literature. 

Kota placed runner up along with four others. 

“Ms. Rathe, my English teacher, told our class about the Paul Engle prize. At the time, we had to write a personal narrative for our class, so my mentality was to hit two birds with one stone, so I wrote about Iowa and all the senses and all that, and included all the requirements with the Paul Engle essay with my English essay so I could get both done.”

One of the requirements that Kota had to meet in his paper was to involve sights, smell, sounds and imagery. 

“I tried visualizing living here; every day we go out and see our surroundings. We kinda live in the middle of a corn field, so I try to imagine on how it is every morning on drives. That’s one of the times where I’m lookin out in nature and trying to immerse myself in how it is here, and when we travel out to other states like, I can actually see what a big difference it is from there to here, and that’s when I know what makes Iowa really special and different.”

Kota said one can easily overlook what Cedar Falls can offer, and it’s a very nice place.

“I like living here,” he said. “I guess most people like where they grow up, though, but, I kinda like the peace that’s here.”

His job in his award-winning essay was to bring his appreciation of Iowa to life in a stand out way.

“I guess I did care about descriptions, imagery and being vivid, along with recalling and reflecting on past experiences in my life. I wrote about this tulip festival that happens, so I focused on that and my overall experiences in Iowa.”

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