Congratulations to the 2014 Celebration of Scholars Award Winners
Several Carthage students were recognized by faculty and their peers at the fourth annual Celebration of Scholars May 2, 2014.
Western Heritage Scholarship
FIRST PLACE: Taylor Kloha ’15
“Not-So-Natural Man: The Problem of Freedom in Rousseau’s ‘Second Discourse’”
Rousseau presents the problem that man is not free; he is subject to the influence of society upon his actions and desires. Working with the Aristotelian description of happiness as living in accordance with one’s true nature, Rousseau then characterizes a “natural man,” seemingly as an alternative to the unhappy modern man. This characterization is shown to have no content. Furthermore, Rousseau is found to suggest that there is no fixed human nature, only “perfectibility” or the capacity for change. A close reading of the “Discourse” suggests, however, that perfectibility is in fact limited by desire; this remains problematic because of Rousseau’s stance that societal desires as well as the fundamental limiting desire for permanence are both unfulfillable. Thus Rousseau is found to imply that man can never be happy in the Aristotelian sense, because the desires which define human nature cannot be satisfied. Further analysis implies that Rousseau’s outlook is nevertheless not entirely bleak. In a brief characterization of the isolated philosopher, it is inferred that through the close examining and managing of desire, man can attain a degree of freedom however small.
“It was, of course, gratifying to have the work I put into writing this essay recognized, but the best part about winning was being able to present my essay as a poster at Celebration of Scholars. I loved engaging in thought-provoking conversations with the faculty, students and family who stopped by. I think integrating the award more closely into the Celebration like this is a great way to emphasize the value of a liberal arts education, which is to me what this competition represents.”
SECOND PLACE: Ethan Town ’16
Abraham and Aeneas: A Comparison of Two Pieties
Within Virgil’s “Aeneid,” it is Aeneas’ piety that provides the drive for much of his journey, as particularly seen in his divine call to depart from Carthage for Italy. Similarly, in Genesis, Abraham obeys his own God with a selfless obedience, an obedience that eventually culminates in the preparation of his own son’s sacrifice. However, although both Aeneas and Abraham’s pieties are practiced to similar extremities, they differ in motive and development. A careful examination of these distinctions can indicate much regarding various aspects of Aeneas and Abraham’s character.
In regards to Aeneas, piety is a blind and thoughtless response to the gods’ commands, indicating a presence of fear and childlike naivety. Abraham’s devout obedience, on the other hand, is developed more gradually. Rather than practicing the irrational piety of Aeneas, he learns to be pious as he further develops his relationship with God. It is this important factor that provides a distinction between the pieties of Aeneas and Abraham.
“I felt greatly honored to have received this award, as well as thankful for the opportunity to participate in such a competition and to share what I learned in my Western Heritage courses. Overall, it was an enjoyable and unique experience, one I am extremely grateful to have taken part in.”
THIRD PLACE: Lindsay Phillips ’16
Homer’s Odyssey, Pleasure and its Pitfalls
While pleasure is a perpetual theme throughout “The Odyssey,” it is also perhaps one of the most overlooked and undervalued themes. Odysseus’ interactions with and eventual rejection of pleasure in the forms of goddesses and Sirens are often merely accepted because the temptation of pleasure can sometimes seem too good to resist. I, on the other hand, desired to look below the surface level and analyze Odysseus not only as a hero, but also as a man. I wanted to discover the reasons behind his rejection of these pleasures, however complex they might be. My essay was driven forward by my thesis; the idea that Odysseus rejected simple pleasures in favor of true happiness which would be earned by his glorious homecoming. Odysseus is not simply a hero in search of glory for glory’s sake; he is instead, a man who desires to return home to his family because he knows that only then will he be sincerely happy.
“It was an honor to be chosen as the third place winner in the Western Heritage scholarship competition. Participating in the Celebration of Scholars was an exciting and worthwhile experience.”
Global Heritage Prize
Samantha Heyne ’14
“The Baobab Diocese”
“The Baobab Diocese” had its first beginning as a nonfiction creative writing project and has been having new beginnings ever since. It is a work-in-progress, a reflection on a three-week long mission trip to Tanzania with a Lutheran congregation from Minnesota that I experienced when I was seventeen years old. Its disjointed, sometimes broken form reflects the nature of its content in several ways. Certain particulars are clear, while other, seemingly more important details are left out, in the same way that memories oftentimes come back to us through small, but very real sensory moments. It also reflects my ignorance as a young high school student at the very bottom of a church hierarchy—uninformed about both the culture in which I was immersed and the nature of the trip itself.
This piece is about identity and dissonance. It attempts to build bridges and it attempts to collapse them. It attempts to give the reader culture shock. It attempts to isolate and cast out its reader as other. It questions both old ideas of what is “improving life” in foreign cultures and new organizations like Bega Kwa Bega, which imposes its Lutheran visions of improvement on Tanzania specifically. “The Baobab Diocese” plants itself upside down; reaching its roots toward some distant, abstract moral ideal that never comes quite into focus.
“Winning the global heritage prize meant a lot to me because not only was I able to take this trip that was originally a bittersweet experience and turn it into a piece of literature that fosters deeper thought about the interactions between cultures, but I was able to share it with the Carthage community.”
Research and Creativity Award
WINNER: Christina Thomas ’14
This poem was written in response to reading Steve J. Stern’s trilogy on Pinochet’s Chile. On September 11, 1973, a military coup took over Chile. The democracy was put under a strong dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet. Thousands of Chileans were considered enemies of the state and assassinated. More than that are the number of people who remain disappeared. Although democracy was restored in 1990, many have not received answers to what happened to their loved ones. Dr. Stern interviewed Chileans from all walks of life and carefully weaves their stories together to study the role of memory in history.
Although the books are historical in nature, a mere analytical paper would not do justice to the subject. More than dates and facts, Dr. Stern captured the strong emotions of fear, uncertainty and regret that tortured human beings as they were commanded to forget individual experiences to collectively embrace one national memory. There are numerous Biblical allusions that are fitting
and make the complex emotions easier to understand as the lines between what was morally right and wrong were severely blurred. Any phrases that seem exaggerated were placed intentionally to reveal the radical nature of the time period.
“I am glad that the winners this year were both poems. Poetry is such a beautiful medium to communicate the complicated emotions and internal conflict inside. It does not have to make sense. It does not have to be right. It just has to be put on paper. In winning, I’m glad I was able to share my work with a greater number of people and bring more awareness to what happened in Chile on a more personal and emotional level, something I could never do with a mere paper.”
WINNER: Carolyn Kick ’15
“A Father” is the story of a girl growing up in an abusive household. Oftentimes individuals pity victims of abuse, but can hardly comprehend what enduring the abuse actually feels like. “A Father” attempts to bridge this gap. It gives a small insight into a life ruled by terror, destruction, and godless hopelessness.
When I share “A Father,” I am often asked if it a personal recount of abuse. However, I refrain from answering this question. “A Father” is not about sharing a personal story, but rather, creating an open dialect about child abuse victims and the darkness they live in. Child abuse victims are often re-victimized by the system; they are placed into temporary custody assignments and bounced from foster home to foster home—forever unloved. Or worse yet: they are accused of lying and are thrown directly back into the physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive home they came from.
I say enough is enough. Child abuse victims cannot continue to live in darkness. They cannot continue to be blamed and shamed for what they have endured. And they absolutely cannot continue living in these volatile homes.
We must take a stand against child abuse. Yes, in “A Father” the victim escapes her relentless abuser, however, too many boys and girls are not as lucky. They are doomed to years of abuse, torture, and hopelessness.
Laws banning abusive behavior are not enough to protect these children. We need a system which works for victims, not against them. We need a system which seeks to help victims, not interrogate them. Most importantly, we need a system which supports victims, believes victims, and lifts victims out of the darkness.
I am taking a stand against child abuse. Please, stand with me. Together we can save more girls like the survivor in “A Father.”
“I’m honored by the fact that the award selection panel recognized how passionate I am about the subject of my poem. I feel blessed I had the chance to share my work with everyone at Celebration of Scholars, and I’m glad my poem was able to create an open discussion about issues of child abuse.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Jacquelynn Glass ’15
In typography class I was tasked with the project of designing a usable font, and two posters showcasing my font. This piece is unique, first, because we were designing a project to match a font, rather than picking a font to match a design. On a personal level, this project challenged me. I struggled to get out of the mindset of image heavy design and create something that displayed the unique facets of my font. In the end, not only did I succeed, but I really pushed myself as a designer. After finalizing my font, I began my posters by creating sketches of what my font reminded me of – old cars with winged backs, diners with chrome edges and red plastic booths. Then I began recreating my favorite sketch in Adobe Illustrator. My original poster displayed the font on the license plate of a Corvette style car, and in a rearview mirror with fuzzy dice hanging down. After a few weeks of work I realized I was going nowhere with this design. I approached my professor, who told me to scrap the design and start over, and to focus on the shapes of my unique letterforms.
“This project was really challenging for me, and really pushed me as a designer. It was so exciting, not only to receive recognition for this, but to be able to share my process and experience with others and have an open dialogue about what I’m learning here at Carthage.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Kira Immordino ’16
“Daughter of Dragons”
She was seven years old when the murderers tore her family apart. Now, in a world where her kind are hunted and slain without mercy, she must spend the next eight years of her life hiding amongst those who want her dead. Every day is a battle for survival and acceptance. She cannot afford to make mistakes, for if she does, she will meet her end by cold steel.
She dares not reveal her true name, and so calls herself Ceridwen of Hadridsted. Her disguises take many forms. Sometimes she flies as a raven, black as night. Sometimes she assumes the likeness of a skulking stray cat. Yet her favored guise is that of a human child, unremarkable except for her vivid, golden eyes.
She is Xírasí Isareis Areix, an orphaned dragoness of Zarta.
“Daughter of Dragons” (55,667 words) is my first novel, but it will definitely not be my last. I have many ideas for stories set in Zarta and its neighboring continent, Atheras. Most of these will feature Xírasí, but some will explore the past and present of minor characters, as well.
I have spent the past five to six months working on this story. It was quite the journey, but well worth it in the end. I am looking for a publisher, but for now, “Daughter of Dragons” is not published.
“I can definitely say that to be a published author has always been a dream of mine. This award is an amazing honor; to have my work recognized at such a high level is an incredible feeling. I feel that anyone can accomplish great things if they persevere and let their passion and enthusiasm show through their work.”
Intern of the Year
Jacelyn Peabody ’15
Jacelyn’s performance during a summer internship at the University of Minnesota earned her the first Intern of the Year Award at Carthage. Read more about her experience here.