Irvington Middle School Eighth Grader Named Finalist in NY Times’ Editorial Contest

Irvington Middle School eighth grader Katherine Fisher (Photo courtesy of the Irvington Union Free School District)

Irvington Middle School eighth grader Katherine Fisher has been selected as a finalist in The New York Times’ 7th annual Editorial Contest for middle and high schoolers. In her short, evidence-based persuasive essay, “Firearm Legality: Something Needs to Change,” Fisher wrote about the need for stricter gun laws.

“Katherine’s piece is beautifully crafted,” her English language arts teacher Olivia Evanko said. “She addresses a very serious issue in American culture, while balancing various persuasive techniques purposefully and tactfully.”

With a limit of 450 words, the contest challenged students to choose a topic they care about, gather evidence from sources within and outside The New York Times and write a concise editorial piece to convince readers of their view. Evanko commended her student’s nuanced editing and revising, as well as her ability to match her rhetoric to argument appropriately.

“She uses logic to disprove valid counterclaims, while also allowing her reader to understand the emotional turmoil that gun violence causes millions of Americans,” Evanko said. “Katherine intentionally places the reader in multiple scenes by using a second-person pronoun and paints an empathetic picture of someone dealing with the consequences of gun violence. This adds a personal element to her piece, allowing the reader to feel included in the fight for stricter gun legislation.”

In conclusion to her piece, Fisher urged readers to consider the impact of gun laws and violence when they vote this November.

“Before signing off, she leaves her reader with an ominous and thoughtful line: ‘After all, you never know who will be next,’” Evanko said. “In this line, Katherine captures the uncertainty and fear that revolves around gun violence in American culture. As Americans yearn for safety and stability, Katherine clearly addresses the issue that prevents us from this ideal: guns.”

According to The New York Times, the winners in each category – middle and high school – will be announced in June.

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