GPS Freshman Places 2nd in Tennessee Writing Competition

Ellie Lee ’27 receives scholarship for her essay on “Why Civility Matters”
Ellie Lee ’27 has a way with words. So much so that she earned herself quite the honor recently! Ellie was notified by the office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett that an essay she entered in the annual Civic Essay Contest was the recipient of the second-place prize, which came with a $250 TNStars 529 College Savings Program Scholarship.

The 2023 Civic Essay Contest was open to all Tennessee students in public, charter, private school, or home school associations in grades pre-K to 12. Ellie’s essay, entered in the 9th-12th grade category, covered the prompt “Why Civility Matters.”

Ellie entered the contest of her own volition after she and her dad came across the contest announcement online. “I entered a similar contest for a different organization last year and won, so I figured I’d give it a shot!”

She says her dad has helped her develop a love for reading and writing over the years. “He loves to give me writing prompts and books to read,” she said. “I’ve always loved to write, and I feel like the more your read, the better you write because you learn new words and writing techniques.”

While others may shy away from writing about political issues or more hot-button topics, Ellie says she loves it. “It’s necessary to talk about the importance of civility,” she said. “Lack of communication and education is detrimental and can cause future problems. It can be difficult because a lot of people think it’s uncomfortable to talk about, but if you approach it correctly, it can really benefit our world.”

Because this wasn’t a required school assignment, Ellie worked on her essay on weekends and on nights when she didn’t have homework or wasn’t busy with other activities. (She’s on the GPS tennis team and in Art Club.)

This is Ellie’s first year at GPS, and though she’s just a freshman, she’s already thinking about the future. She’s considering a career in politics or law—somewhere she can use her voice to make a difference.