BIS Hanoi alumni win New York Times Asia-Pacific writing competition

By Pham Van   November 30, 2020 | 08:30 pm PT
Of over 1,200 entries from over 25 countries, the essays of BIS Hanoi graduates Valerie Lua and Kieu Quoc Thai were shortlisted for a New York Times book.

"Being shortlisted from so many entrants is a huge accolade in itself, but being published by arguably one of the world’s leading newspapers, is something many people can only ever dream of," said Kate Wilson, head of the English Department at BIS Hanoi.

In the academic year of 2019/2020, New York Times invited tertiary and secondary school students across the Asia-Pacific region to participate in Asia-Pacific Writing Competition with the theme "Our World: 2050." Winning entries were selected by their award-winning journalists and published in The New York Times International Edition.

Valerie (left) & Quoc Thai (right) at BIS Hanoi Graduation Ceremony 2020.

Valerie Lua (L) and Kieu Quoc Thai at BIS Hanoi Graduation Ceremony 2020.

In this competition, students were asked to submit a 500-word opinion piece responding to the following question: "In an age where unpredictability is the new constant, what can you, the younger generation, do now to shape the future?" Participants had to demonstrate competence in the use of English as a written language alongside originality and flair.

Thai focused on the alarming environmental issues in 2050 when humanity will have reached halfway across the 21st century with a predicted population of eight billion people. His article then emphasized that it is imperative for the youth to help the environment, in order to shape a brighter future.

Besides a love for writing and literature, Thai is passionate about performing arts. During his time at BIS Hanoi, he formed a student band with his peers and took on a number of leading roles in annual productions. At the graduation ceremony in late May this year, he was awarded Best in Performing Arts and Best in Core IB accolades, a testament to his ability and passion.

Quoc Thai performed with his band in his graduation this year.

Kieu Quoc Thai performs with his band in his graduation this year.

Valerie, on the other hand, wrote a very inspiring piece about the current fast-changing world and why young people should have the ambition to do whatever it takes to be heard and to create a movement with the belief that all the small contributions can create big changes for the future.

At BIS Hanoi, Valerie excelled not only in academics but also in school activities, which made her leadership skill stand out. During her time at BIS Hanoi, she took over the positions of House Captain, first-ever Head Girl and Higher Education Ambassador for BIS Hanoi, all with great responsibility. She was also among a very few students in the history of BIS Hanoi to receive the Principal’s Awards, a particular source of pride for students, twice, for her proactive, hard-work and determination in many aspects of school life.

Valerie made her speech at an event held by BIS Hanoi.

Valerie Lua speaks at an event held by BIS Hanoi.

The New York Times Asia-Pacific Writing Competition was established in 2009 to encourage students to become more informed and globally minded about important issues in the region and around the world.

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