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Making an impact: students' entries to the National Geographic Learning anthology

07 Oct 2021 - Lizzie Cooper-Smith

In 2020, we produced our first ever joint anthology with National Geographic Learning. It provided a fantastic opportunity for students to enhance their learning experience by submitting either a photo, short story, poem or personal essay. We’re delighted to share the second anthology of creative work produced by our students.

This year’s theme

Last year, students responded to one of two prompts: ‘My Kaplan Life’ or ‘Your Path, Your Way’. This year, the theme was ‘IMPACT’.

Students could either submit a piece of writing in response to one of the prompt photos, or their own video or photo showing their interpretation of the theme.

The 1-month competition ran from 26 October 2020 – 26 November 2020, with Pathway Colleges providing writing and photo lessons during the period. These lessons gave students the opportunity to develop their writing skills in new and creative ways and to try different ways of working.

Making an impact

We’re so impressed by how well students responded to the theme of ‘IMPACT’. This year’s theme brought about an incredible variety of submissions, and we’re excited to share the winning entries with you!

IMPACT: writing competition winning entry

“I took my shoes off and offered them to him. The boy was taken aback but I gestured for him to take it. He put them on immediately, they were too big for him but he beamed and hugged me. I always thought that I could only have an impact on somebody’s life if I was a somebody. This smiling boy taught me that a nobody like me could have an impact too.”

– Althea Erminia Scully, Overall National Writing Winner and 1st Prize: Student Choice Award for Writing

Charlotte Ellis, Strategic Marketing Manager at National Geographic Learning, said:

‘This year the theme of IMPACT has been interpreted in myriad ways — from the unavoidable consequences of Covid to the subtle but powerful IMPACT of the smallest gestures and words.

It’s been an apt theme in a year where we have time to step back and assess the IMPACT of our own actions on others and how we respond in turn to the IMPACT of events beyond our control.”

Fantastic prizes

This year’s winners enjoyed some great prizes. For example, the lucky winners of the National Geographic Learning Expert Prize for Photography were invited to attend an exclusive online webinar workshop with National Geographic photographer Gabby Salazar.

Meanwhile, the National Geographic Learning Expert Prize for Video was an online webinar workshop on storytelling with National Geographic explorer and cultural educator, Aziz Abu Sarah.

Finally, winners of the Kaplan Expert Prize for Writing attended an online webinar workshop with a published writer, to really help them get those creative juices flowing.

All college and national-level winners also got to see their work in print in the new anthology.

We’re feeling so inspired by all the wonderful entries to this year’s competition! We’re already looking forward to seeing what our students create next year, but until then, why not browse the full anthology?

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