Thangi, Wharton Advance in New York Times Editorial Contest

Opinions and middle school students seem like a natural fit. Annually, the New York Times challenges teens across the world to put their thoughts to paper in the “Student Editorial Contest.” More than 10,000 entries are received from talented – and thoughtful – young writers. In 450 words or less, students must state their opinion on an issue relevant to their lives or society. They must site reliable sources within their article as well.

Two Johnston Middle School students – Abigail Wharton and Laura Thangi – have been selected as finalists for the middle school division contest. Submitting an editorial in the contest was an optional assignment from JMS Eighth Grade Advanced Language Arts teacher RaeAnn Skeers at the beginning of the COVID-19 school closure. Skeers said many of her students opted to submit pieces for review.

Wharton’s editorial was titled “Let’s Talk About Periods” (about destigmatization of female health issues for teens) and Thangi’s was titled “Humans, the Real Virus of The World” (about climate change during coronavirus). From the thousands of persuasive essays submitted through the contest, the NY Times team selects 10 winners, 26 runners-up and 38 honorable mentions.

“I am so proud and heartened to see teens using their voices for positive change,” said Skeers.

Winners and runners-up will be announced in the coming weeks.