The Woodward News

February 10, 2013

Essays focus on the future

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — A recent essay contest asked area middle schoolers to imagine the world of the future.

The annual essay contest is sponsored by the local Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), which is a society for women educators.

For this year's contest, 7th and 8th graders from area schools were asked to write a creative essay answering "What Do You Think the World Will Look Like in 100 Years?"

The 2013 contest winners were 3 8th graders from Arnett Junior High, who were recognized during the DKG Psi Chapter's monthly meeting Saturday morning at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Woodward campus.

Psi Chapter Essay Chair Rita Barnett presented first place winner Sarah Atha and second place winner Ashley Smith with a plaque and prize money. Third place winner Cassidy Tolle was not present.

The girls' 8th grade teacher Shannon Shoaf of Arnett Junior High spoke briefly saying, though it was her first year to teach 8th grade it was quickly becoming one of her favorites. Shoaf went on to say she was amazed with her students' creativeness.

As part of the award ceremony, the essay winners were asked to read their creative pieces aloud.

Smith's essay took a grand approach looking at 3 major aspects of future life, namely communication, transportation, and entertainment in the future.  She often referred to the advancement in technology over the past 100 years, such as the Internet, Facebook, cell phones, and tablets, to reflect the potential for development over the next 100 years. She said she expects computers and cellphones to be thin as paper by 2113.

Smith also discussed the fantastical, such as flying hover cars and subways that ran in the air as opposed to underground. She also showed some conservatism in the entertainment portion of her essay, still expecting movie stars and sports teams to be around.

Atha took a bit more personalized look, exploring aspects of 100 years of innovation from a student's perspective.  Like Smith, Atha still discussed hover cars, razor thin phone/tablets, and robots, but she explored how they might influence a school setting.

She said solar powered hover cars with an ability to hold 12 people and travel at amazing speeds would alleviate modern travel concerns, resulting in larger, consolidated classrooms where students learn together. She discussed how the tablets would be used in lieu of books, and also how robot helpers would aid students in learning.

Atha also imagined devices called tripads, which would be smaller than hover cars, holding only 1-2 people, that students could operate, which would result in people's garages being on their roofs.

As the first place winner on the local level, Atha will advance to the statewide competition, where 4 state winners will be asked to read their essays at the Gamma State Convention in June.

Barnett said the purpose of the DKG essay contest is "mainly to king of let younger students get a head start on essay writing.  Also with this year's being a more creative writing project, which you can probably tell from the theme, it's about helping the students to learn to enjoy writing."