Chatham High School senior Eric Davis earned Honorable Mention in the Fourth Annual New York Times Student Editorial Contest. Out of 7,895 submissions, Davis' essay made it to the final round, which means that his essay was in the top 70 submissions.
Davis' essay is titled “Colleges Should Abandon Race-Based Affirmative Action to Achieve True Diversity.” In the essay, he argues that colleges “completely ignore the importance of socioeconomic diversity” in favor of “seeking an ethnically diverse campus,” and, as a result, “there are essentially as many students from families of the top one percent of household income as the entire bottom 50 percent.”
Davis argues, “It’s in the best interest of the entire nation for schools to work toward equality among their campuses in all senses of the definition” because “the level of social inequality in this country has grown inconceivably, and the one beacon of hope for many - accessibility to higher education - appears to be far less attainable for working class families.”
In response to his recognition, Davis said, “As an aspiring engineering student, I was completely surprised to see that my writing - of all things - was recognized as outstanding. I've never really given myself the chance to explore my capabilities in the humanities outside of the classroom, and to be recognized by one of the most influential publications in the world was quite the honor.”
Davis also commented on the impact of the recognition on his future plans, “Writing this editorial has been more transformative than I would have ever expected. Throughout high school, I always thought that I wanted to pursue something math or science related, because that's where I thought my strengths were. But as a dedicated student, I didn't want my writing abilities to be ignored. After this year and having such an inspiring teacher (Ms. Falkner), I now fully intend to explore other areas of interest and find a way to integrate them into my education, daily life, and perhaps my career.”
Shannon Falkner, Davis' English teacher at CHS, said, “Eric’s piece is beautifully written, and its message about ensuring that all students have access to higher education is so important. I commend Eric for taking on an issue as complex and as sensitive as economic inequality and finding a way to write about it in a compelling way that resonates for readers.”