Pine-Richland senior recognized by CMU for prize-winning essay
Pine-Richland High School senior Taryn Douglas turned her personal experience with moving into new communities into a prize-winning essay for Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards.
The annual competition is sponsored by the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and the CMU Department of English to showcase poetry and prose on the topics of racial or cultural differences and reflections on Dr. King’s legacy.
Students from 22 area high schools and eight colleges participated in this year’s contest. Douglas’ essay was entitled “The Bubble” and was recognized as a Best in Schools winner.
“It’s basically just about acceptance and how it can be hard to fit into a place that may be like a bubble,” she said. “When you move it can be hard and you can be faced with isolation and discrimination so it just talks about the struggles through that. But the person that enters the bubble can pop the bubble and overcome the obstacles they face and learn more about themselves as leaders, and teach others about the value and importance of acceptance.”
Douglas said she moved to Pine-Richland from Iowa in eighth grade but had moved frequently prior to that up and down the east coast. It can be hard, she said, coming in as an outsider when everyone else has grown up together and shares similar interests and styles and upbringings.
“As I got older and into my junior and senior year of high school I’ve been able to grow more because I’ve been able to talk to more people and get out the word that we have to grow in diversity and acceptance and love each other for who we really are,” she said.
Douglas was recognized on stage during the awards ceremony. She said it was moving to read the different pieces from high school and college students.
“They talked about racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and different aspects of what they experienced,” she said. “Learning about different points of view and how their experiences related to my own was eye-opening.”