2016 Student Projects Contest

2015 student essay contest


to all the participants in the

11th Annual Student Contest

This Year’s Quote is:

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much”

-Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Winning Essay Grades 9-12

Aoi Hadama, Keio Academy of New York, Purchase, NY
Teacher: Carol Riddle

There were huge earthquakes in Kumamoto, Japan on April 14,15, and 16. So many houses collapsed and cracked. My house was safe, but my family evacuated to Fukuoka prefecture which is next to Kumamoto. Also, there are still some problems of infrastructures. Therefore, people have to collaborate and work with others many times even if they didn’t experience the earthquake. For instance, distributing supplies, fund raising and sharing information on Twitter and Facebook are forms of collaboration.

First, distributing supplies with other people is important to collaborate. In Kumamoto, many people such as the Self-Defense Force of Japan, police officers, fire fighters and normal people have rationed goods. My aunt said that because these people came to the disaster areas and helped by volunteering, many disaster victims felt safe and could rely on them. Also, if these volunteers collaborate more, the circulation of supplies will be more rapid and accurate. So disaster areas will be able to revitalize quickly.

Second, fund raising is important too. This is because if one person other than a famous person raises money, it will be a little money and it will not be able to help disaster areas. However, if all of the population in Japan raises one yen, the disaster areas will receive one hundred million yen which is about one million dollars. These areas cannot be rebuilt with one hundred million yen, however this is the idea if everyone raises only one yen. If each of them raises one hundred or one thousand yen, the sum of money can be a hundred times or
a thousand times more. Thus, people’s kindness and collaboration will be important.

Third, sharing information is one of the most important things to help the disaster areas and victims. This is because the important thing to live in the disaster area is to recognize correct information. For example, on Facebook, an important piece of information is shared. It says that anyone who cannot have water can come and is able to get his water which gushes from his rice field. This information is shared over twenty million times on Facebook. Therefore, many people in Kumamoto could know the information and were able to get water. However, there is some wrong information too. So if people share
information, they have to value that the information is correct.

In conclusion, people have to collaborate when a disaster happens. This is because they ration supplies to the disaster victims, raise money and share so much information on the Internet. When people are able to collaborate with others, things which cannot be done as an individual person will be able to be done. Therefore, people have to collaborate with others.

Winning Essay University and
Adult Education

Ekaterina Puzankova, New York Language Center-Jackson Heights, Queens, NY
Teacher: AJ Gonzales

Advantages of working in a group

Some people prefer to work alone, while others are in favor of a group work. Both approaches have their upsides and drawbacks. However, as far as I am concerned, working in groups is more beneficial for people, because it helps to achieve more far-reaching result, broaden their knowledge, learn how to cooperate and save an ample of time.

To begin with, group of students can reach a better result, because a wider range of knowledge. Several people can contribute more to a project than one individual due to diversity of ideas and skills. A team has the opportunity to look at the picture from different perspectives, while by working alone you are able to make decisions based only on your own opinion and your possibilities are limited. Hence, the group has higher potential than one person and can achieve greater result.

Secondly, students can learn from each other while working together. During the process group members share their views and experiences. For instance, in my TOEFL class working in groups is commonplace. Every time I work with other students I expand my vocabulary. By working together we come up with at least ten different synonyms for an English word verse to one or two meanings that I know. In addition, I learn many interesting things about other cultures due to diverse backgrounds of my classmates. Therefore, group work helps students to broaden their knowledge.

In addition, working in a team develops some necessary skills such as the ability to cooperate. Through variety of difficulties that students face while working in the group, they learn how to compromise, resolve arguments and respect each other. Even though opinions may vary among group members, they have to come to a general agreement that would be somewhat satisfactory for all participants. From my point of view, this skill is especially important, because all prime aspects of life
such as family, business, religion and so forth require an effective cooperation. Thus, the ability to cooperate is a rudimentary skill for every individual, and work group helps to improve it.

Finally, because of the number of people involved a group can accomplish work faster than if it would have been done by one individual. When working alone you have to do a whole project by yourself. In contrast, group members can split the responsibilities among each other and save a great deal of time. Moreover, group members can cover each other’s weaknesses, and the right matching of multiple talents for specific purposes can significantly increase the efficiency of the group. Because all of those factors, a group works more quickly than one person.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that working in a group is an essential life experience. Indeed life in general is a team sport and in the process of working in a group you learn how to play it properly. By cooperating we learn how to live in society. By improving of result and productivity we increase our chances to succeed in life.

Winning Digital Storytelling Grades 4-5

Meil Day Hter, Sailber  Say, Lamin Taryar, International School 45, Buffalo, NY
Teachers: Elena Dokshansky and Leslie Duggleby
Title: Collaboration NYS TESOL

Winning Digital Storytelling University and
Adult Education

Luis Arrufat, Sonia Dehdouh, Daniel Figueroa, Sonia Gjemi, Shoji Kaido, Thair Shamoon, Kim Tuyen, and Juan David Velez, New York Language Center, New York, NY
Teacher: Emily Clymer
Title: Adv. Collaboration NYLC


Thank you to all the teachers and students who participated in the 11th Annual NYS TESOL Student Contest! We received a wonderful collection of essays and digital stories from students across the state! Your dedication to your students is evident to us and we applaud the efforts of your students. You are all winners to us!

Emma Barattin- New York Language Center
Stephany Bonura- Stony Brook University
Lori Dotterer-Jamesville Dewitt High School
Melissa Feldman-SUNY New Paltz
Melinda Hummel- New York Language Center
Kelly Lehmann- Niskayuna High School
Anna MacLachlan- Drew University
Mary Marshall- Morse Elementary School
James Philips- SUNY New Paltz
Sister Alexandria Wolochuk- Molloy College

Winners were honored at our 46th NYS TESOL Annual Conference in White Plains, New York. For more information about NYS TESOL, please visit our homepage at www.nystesol.org

Winners from Past Years

10th Annual, 2015
Theme: "Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn't help us know what to say."
--Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (1948-)

9th Annual, 2014
Theme: "A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special." --Nelson Mandela

8th Annual, 2013
Theme: "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi

7th Annual, 2012
Theme: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

6th Annual, 2011
Theme: How has your community helped you learn English?

5th Annual, 2010
Theme: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

4th Annual, 2009
Theme: What aspects of American culture do you find to be different from your culture?

3rd Annual, 2008
Theme: What aspects of American culture do you find to be different from your culture?

2nd Annual, 2007
Theme: My Growth as an English Language Learner

1st Annual, 2006
Theme: A famous Chinese Proverb states, “A teacher can open the door, but the student must enter on their own.” How does this quotation illustrate your experience learning English?