Saturday, September 4, 2010


From: Wei Li

Date: September 4, 2010 5:06:38 AM EDT
Subject: Thank you from a very grateful student

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,

I am writing to thank you for publishing my paper (“Convivencia in Medieval Spain”) in the Fall 2009 issue of The Concord Review and for also choosing me as one of the Ralph Waldo Emerson laureates for this year. It is a huge honor and one that although I’d dreamed about, never quite expected to be realized.

Getting my paper published and then winning the Emerson prize have been two of the greatest highlights of my high school career. When my teacher, Mr. Bisset, recommended me, a sophomore in his AP European History class, to submit for publication the research paper that I wrote in his class, I did so without ever expecting a response. The news I received a few months later shattered all my expectations. Mr. Bisset was quite right in pulling out a chair for me before breaking the news! (In retrospect, I wished he’d done that again this year when he told me about the Emerson Prize!)

In writing my paper, I have learned so much more about myself—my interests, capabilities, and passions. I have enjoyed every minute of the months I spent researching. Reading articles and books on topics ranging from Hebrew poetry in the 11th century, to Islamic architecture, expanded my knowledge, horizons, and tastes and allowed me to discover that I was genuinely interested in all of these eclectic topics. And the long process of drafting, editing, and revising allowed me to discover that I was truly capable of producing an extended piece of work—something that I had never tried before—of high quality.

My experiences with The Concord Review inspired me to continue writing history academic papers. Last year, I wrote another serious research paper on China’s One Child Policy for a different history teacher and am looking forward to writing another one of equal caliber for AP Art History this year. Most importantly, working on my Convivencia paper made me realize that my interest in history was a true passion—something I want to pursue for the rest of my life.

The Concord Review, by honoring me with publication and then with the Emerson Prize, has made me confident in my own abilities. With it, I was able to persuade my parents, and now I am planning to follow the passion that it inspired in me by majoring in History in college.

I cannot thank you enough for your efforts over the past 20 years in providing students like me with the opportunity to explore writing a scholarly history paper. The Concord Review has provided examples of quality writing and excellent history topics as well as asking students to rise to those high standards you have set. Thank you for allowing me to find my passion in life and for believing that all high school students can rise to the challenge you have set for us.

Best regards,

Wei Li
Singapore American School
Class of 2011

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