After a competitive process that included essay writing and an interview before a panel of judges, India’12 was selected as the 2011 Guerin Prize recipient on Feb. 9.
The Guerin Prize is an annual contest that offers the junior class the opportunity to write an essay about the living American who they most admire. India will travel on Jun. 22 to Palo Alto to meet Salman Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, an online collection of over 1,800 ten to twenty minute video tutorials on academic subjects ranging from arithmetic to physics.
India said she chose Khan as the subject of her essay because his work has inspired her and has even helped her academically.
“I chose him because I had used his site for help in my Pre-Calculus Honors class,” India said. “I think Khan is amazing because he really is changing the way we learn and is making quality education free and accessible to anyone with a computer.”
Mathematics instructor Chris Talone is India’s faculty sponsor for the Guerin Prize and will accompany India when she meets Khan. Although Talone was not familiar with Khan before India introduced him to the site, Talone said he is now a fan of Khan Academy.
“Now, I’ve watched a ton of his videos, and I’m thinking of incorporating them into my AP Statistics class for next year,” Talone said.
In addition to being India’s faculty sponsor, Talone is India’s former mathematics instructor and said that he knows India as a very dedicated and hard working student.
“I am so pleased that she was recognized,” Talone said. “I am so proud to be going on the trip with her!”
Rick Guerin, who established the Guerin Endowed Fund to support the Guerin Prize, reviewed India’s application in late January along with a selection committee comprised of faculty and administration from the School. After a blind reading of each submitted essay, Guerin said that India’s enthusiasm shined through her writing and inevitably set her apart from the other candidates.
“India’s essay was absolutely first-class,” Guerin said. “In addition, she was by far the most articulate, poised and mature finalist.”
India offered some insight and guidance for fellow students who are considering entering into a Guerin Prize competition in the future.
“To any girls wanting to submit, I would say to write about someone you’re passionate about and whose message you really believe in,” India said. “To me, that’s what really counts, and I think this enthusiasm really showed.”
India said she is eager to continue her relationship with the Khan Academy by becoming an unofficial student ambassador for the Academy after her visit to the organization’s headquarters on Jun. 22.
“I would really like to be more involved in the Khan Academy by working with public schools to inform them of this amazing resource,” India said. “One of the things that I want to gain from my meeting with Mr. Khan in June is to receive his blessing to run with this idea.”