The Gatton Academy's News Archive
Gatton Graduates Honored in 41st National Russian Essay Contest
- Monday, July 10th, 2023
Eight recent Gatton Academy graduates received bronze, silver, or gold distinctions in this year’s National Russian Essay Contest through the American Council of Teachers of Russian. Students at The Gatton Academy can enroll in Russian coursework taught by Professor Ekaterina Myakshina in Western Kentucky University’s Department of Modern Languages. Each student who participated in the competition is a part of The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Critical Languages program in which students take four semesters of Russian and attend Russian Talks about various aspects of Russian culture.
The National Russian Essay Contest is organized annually and allows students to showcase their writing skills in the Russian Language. During the contest, a topic is announced at the beginning of a two-hour period that participants spend responding to the prompt. In its 41st year, 738 students responded to the topic “My Favorite Place” in Russian cursive handwriting.
Students who received the Gold Distinction are Reagan Phelps (Bardstown High School) and Sophia Wielawski (Allen County Scottsville High School). The Silver Distinction was awarded to Gabriel Fortier (LaRue County High School), Desmond Harris (Ballard High School), and Abby Jones (South Warren High School), and the Bronze Distinction was awarded to Justin Constant (Green County High School), Jonathon Reilly (Central Hardin High School), and Ellen Sego (Central Hardin High School).
“The National Russian Essay Contest is a wonderful opportunity for our STEM + Russian students. The ability to write on demand in their non-native language, and in cursive for that matter, is quite a challenge, so the fact that our students excelled is a testament to the excellent education provided by Professor Myakshina,” said Gatton Academy’s Assistant Director of Academic Services, Sam Earls, who oversees the STEM + Critical Languages program.
Fortier, Harris, Phelps, and Wielawski were also selected for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Program (NSLI-Y) to study abroad in Russian-speaking countries.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented juniors and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Gatton Academy is a recipient of the 2022 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from Insight Into Diversity Magazine and the Innovation Partnership Award from the National Consortium for Secondary STEM Schools.