Friday, February 8, 2019


From: Varun Sikand
Date: January 25, 2019 at 16:15:11 EST
To: ""
Subject: Update

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,

I hope this email finds you in good health, and that all is well with your wonderful organization. Sorry for the delay in my reply. I had a successful first semester at Yale and have thoroughly enjoyed my extracurricular pursuits thus far. 

I am in the Directed Studies program, an intense interdisciplinary humanities program for select first-year students that combines 3 seminars in historical and political thought, philosophy, and literature. These discussion-based, peer-driven seminars are taught by top Yale faculty and are centered around fundamental texts in the western tradition. The program is writing heavy—every week I write a 5-page paper. It goes without saying that the skills I acquired writing for the Review have certainly made this extremely challenging program much more approachable. The ability to communicate your thoughts into a concise, effective argument is a trying—often frustrating—but rewarding task.

Your attempt to make known the dying art of writing among high school students is noble project, and I'd love to contribute a piece to your blog about how my experience in writing a paper for the Review has helped me succeed in the most demanding writing program in the entire world for first-year college students. It is no surprise that I have met other Review authors here at Yale, including my good friends Shaurya Salwan (Spring 2018) and Justin Weaver Lilley Jr. (Summer 2017), both of whom have either completed or are currently in the Directed Studies program that I am in. I would be honored to host a dinner here in New Haven with you and other Yale-TCR authors if you would like.

Carrying out the mission of The Concord Review, I inspired my brother, Rohan Sikand, who is a junior in high school and a computer science wizard, to take up an independent study in historical research. For the past year, my brother has embarked on his own journey to complete a historical manuscript with the hope of joining me as a published Concord Review author one day. He is in the final stages of editing his essay, and is preparing to submit the paper in just a few weeks.

To these ends, I have decided to donate my Emerson prize money in support of The Concord Review. Thank you for awarding me such an esteemed prize; it is my highest academic honor to date. By supporting TCR, I will continue to promote your mission of encouraging secondary students—like my brother—to write for your organization and realize the gift of historical inquiry.

Again, I am sorry for my late reply and I hope to keep in touch with you from Yale. All my best.

With Gratitude,

Varun Sikand
[Yale Class of 2022
Emerson Prize 2018]
[His 19,000+word paper on the Knights of Labor was published in the Summer of 2018 (28/4), and he included five papers published by his peers in The Concord Review in his endnotes and bibliography.]