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Jamie Kim, a junior at Eastern Christian High School, is currently running an international nonprofit from her bedroom. Called Pen & Quill, she founded the organization in January with students she met at various writers’ conferences—one student from Puerto Rico, and another from California.

“We contacted Princeton University Press, and we talked about what we were doing. They offered to sponsor us,” she shares.

With a sponsor in place, the trio is hard at work managing a contest for young writers in grades six through twelfth. The contest closes this month. Submissions have been received from as close as New Jersey to as far away as The Philippines. Pen & Quill also offers peer editing services.

For the girls, the project is a labor of love. “People don’t read and write these days and it is hard to inspire people. The arts are so important and we can’t let it fade away with all of this STEM and technology,” she shares. “My goal is to inspire writers, to encourage them to continue writing and find a community.”

Kim traces “her flame in reading and writing” to two particular Eastern Christian Middle School teachers, Mrs. Breur and Mrs. Kuelke. An avid reader, she now averages a book a week.

As for her writing pursuits, this year Kim has been piling on awards. Most recently, she was the national winner in an essay contest sponsored by the The Journalism Education Foundation and Society of Professional Journalists. She received national and regional Gold Key awards from Scholastic Arts & Writing contests. And she was also named a National History Day regional winner for her essay on the Nuremberg trials. In addition to these contests, she’s had a short story and poem published by Idle Ink and Blue Daisy Journal.

She hopes to one day pursue a career in publishing.

“The teachers in EC have sparked my love for the humanities,” adds Kim. “My entire family is STEM centered, but the middle school helped me find my interest in humanities.”

Her interest has only grown in high school. With Mr. Dykstra, she says she has furthered her love in creative writing and created a school-wide literary journal. 

Additionally, her current classes have pushed her love for literature to new lengths. “This year, I took two English classes and Mrs. Westra’s classes have motivated me to read more. Her own passion for literature and her style of teaching encourages my pursuit of the humanities. She inspires me and pushes me to think differently.”

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